Public thanked for ‘restraint’ as A&E numbers rise
PUBLISHED: 09:01 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:17 07 July 2020
The number of people at Norfolk’s hospital A&E departments is “steadily” returning to pre-lockdown levels.
But health chiefs have praised the public for their “restraint”, as fears of a weekend surge as lockdown was eased were unfounded.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, all reported similar or lower numbers in emergency departments in comparison to the same weekend last year.
In the run up to July 4, there were calls from the hospitals, East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and police urging people to remain sensible if heading out to pubs and restaurants for the first time.
Chris Cobb, NNUH chief operating officer, said: “We’d like to thank the people of Norfolk and Norwich who on the whole continue to follow social distancing guidance and have shown restraint as the lockdown eases. It is really important over the coming weeks and months that the basics of thorough hand washing and social distancing remain to help limit the transmission of Covid-19.”
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At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, staff saw 166 people in its emergency department on Saturday, 37 fewer than the previous weekend and down from 210 for the same Saturday in 2019.
Denise Smith, chief operating officer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “ED attendances are steadily increasing back to previous levels; we have seen the average number of attendances on a Saturday increase from 118 in April 2020 to 184 in June 2020. We would encourage our local population to follow the national guidance in relation to COVID-19, particularly in relation to good hand hygiene and social distancing.”
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At the James Paget University Hospital, numbers were slightly down on the same weekend last year.
Chief operating officer Joanne Segasby said: “We had good plans in place for the weekend and we actually saw slightly fewer attendances than we did for the same weekend last year. Overall we have seen a gradual increase in the numbers of people coming into our A&E in the past few weeks and this has now returned to near pre-COVID levels.
“We’d like to thank our staff for all their work, including their planning for the weekend, and thank everyone who acted responsibly.”
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EEAST reported one of its busiest nights in weeks – at some points in the evening receiving double the number of calls on July 4 that it did on the first Saturday in June.
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Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer at EEAST, said: “Thankfully, the alcohol-related calls that we could have expected weren’t as high. There was a small increase in some of the calls for assaults but it was still a very busy night.”
Norfolk Constabulary has largely praised the way the county conducted itself on the first night of eased lockdown – making six arrests on Saturday.