Rain

Rain

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Ambulance services and hospitals in Suffolk and Essex are facing ‘extreme pressures’

PUBLISHED: 16:43 01 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 01 January 2018

Colchester General Hospital's Emergency Department. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/ARCHANT LIBRARY

Colchester General Hospital's Emergency Department. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR/ARCHANT LIBRARY

Ambulance staff in Suffolk and Essex have been barred from booking leave and advised to call taxis for patients due to “extreme pressures” facing health services.

The Garrett Anderson Centre, the emergency department at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL The Garrett Anderson Centre, the emergency department at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has raised its operational status to the highest level in response to the pressures, which are expected to continue through this week.

Ipswich, Colchester, West Suffolk and James Paget hospitals have reported significant pressures over recent days.

EEAST’s director of service delivery Kevin Brown wrote to ambulance staff on Sunday to highlight “exceptionally high demand” within the 999 system and “very significant” handover delays at hospitals. In four days, nearly 500 hospital handovers in the region exceeded an hour, losing 50 ambulance shifts a day.

Ambulance staff have been banned from making new requests for leave this week and advised to book taxis to take patients to hospital rather than wait for back up in less serious cases.

One EEAST worker, who asked not to be named, said many staff had to work beyond their shifted hours and morale was “very low”.

Mr Brown said: “We recognise the immense pressures on our staff at this time and have escalated our concerns to the highest level with our regulators. We have responded safely and provided excellent care to thousands of patients.”

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals spokesman Jan Ingle said: “We are extremely busy at both hospitals because there is a great demand for healthcare at the moment, We are seeing a lot of very unwell people in need of urgent care, many of whom are frail and older people.”

Although there have been criticisms over inappropriate use of emergency services in the past, Mrs Ingle said patients visiting the hospitals in recent days had been right to do so and thanked the community for its support. “There’s extreme pressures on the hospitals but we are managing to cope,” she added.

West Suffolk Hospital said the problems affected the entire NHS.

“We are working to full capacity and doing everything we can to see patients,” a spokesman added.

James Paget Hospital’s medical director Nick Oligbo said: “We are very busy with our whole team pulling together and working very hard to provide care for patients.”

People are advised to use GPs, pharmacies and NHS 111 services where appropriate.

A brave Kesgrave teenager who lost a leg to cancer hit headlines for passing her driving test a year early but she may now face losing that independence – and her beloved car.

The man who spearheaded efforts to build a northern by-pass across Ipswich 25 years ago has backed new plans to build the road that are now emerging.

A man arrested in connection with an incident that saw armed police descend on Ipswich town centre last night will face no further action.

Police are growing “increasingly concerned” for the welfare of a missing 52-year-old Suffolk man.

Jeremy Hunt has come under fire for a post he put on social media following a private visit to Ipswich Hospital.

A charity chief executive has spoken of ambitions to support the overburdened NHS in the future by extending its offer for young people.

Test your knowledge on our county by taking part in our quiz.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24