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Food trollies sent round as nurses 'too busy' to stop and eat

PUBLISHED: 15:52 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 08 January 2020

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has seen increase in waits and deployed a refreshment trolley to ensure staff eat and drink. Photo: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has seen increase in waits and deployed a refreshment trolley to ensure staff eat and drink. Photo: Ian Burt

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A Norfolk hospital has resorted to sending round a refreshment trolley to ensure staff are eating and drinking following "unprecedented" demand for emergency services.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: TwitterQueen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: Twitter

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn said it was seeing heightened waiting times during the winter period and said it was likely to last throughout winter.

Operations have been postponed and patients have waited on average four hours 53 minutes to be seen in the emergency department in recent days.

On Twitter, the hospital has responded to tweets saying staff had gone without breaks.

The hospital wrote: "It's been a challenging few weeks for TeamQEH. We agree that it's unacceptable for staff to go without breaks. We encourage all of our staff to have regular breaks during shifts so they can eat and stay hydrated. We're sorry you couldn't today and will reiterate this message."

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: TwitterQueen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: Twitter

Another tweet said: "Your wellbeing is really important - and even more so during pressured times. Refreshment trollies are delivering food to staff during the day to keep you well hydrated."

Since Saturday, 587 patients have been seen in the emergency department.

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Caroline Shaw, the hospital's chief executive, apologised on Twitter to patients who had experienced "unacceptably long waits".

Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Queen Elizabeth HospitalDenise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Queen Elizabeth Hospital

A hospital spokesman said patient safety was their priority and they were supporting staff to ensure they were providing a safe service to patients.

The spokesman added: "Staff wellbeing is paramount, and it is important that staff are supported, particularly in periods of heightened activity. It is important that we provide them with what they need."

Freelance staff and agency workers have been brought in due to higher levels of staff sickness and additional beds have been opened, which has driven a need for more nursing and medical staff.

Denise Smith, chief operating officer for the hospital, said: "Demand on our emergency services has been extremely high over the last week. We apologise to patients and their families who have experienced unacceptably long waits and to those patients whose planned operations we have regrettably postponed.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: TwitterQueen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn has tweeted its response to pressure facing staff during the winter period. Picture: Twitter

"Thank you to our staff and to our system partners for going above and beyond, recognising they are working in challenging circumstances."

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