Emergency staff cope with busy Easter weekend

‘NO EXCEPTION’: Nearly 3,000 calls for ambulances in Suffolk and Essex over four days

AMBULANCE crews and A&E staff in Suffolk and Essex were kept “very busy” dealing with nearly 3,000 emergency calls over the Easter weekend.

There were nearly 100 more emergency calls made to the East of England Ambulance Service in Suffolk over the four days when compared to the same period last year.

From midnight on Friday April 2 to midnight on Monday April 5 the Suffolk control centre took 1,075 calls from patients, 504 of which needed transporting to hospital. In Essex, the Chelmsford control centre handled 2,776 calls.

Neil Storey, associate director for emergency operations for the East of England Ambulance Service, said crews were kept “very busy” across the region.

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He said: “From past experiences, the long Bank Holiday weekends are normally busy for us and this year was no exception.”

Jan Rowsell, head of communications at Ipswich Hospital, said staff had been prepared for extra patients and had coped “really well”.

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She said: “We were really busy, but we expected to be really busy and coped really well, thanks to the fantastic efforts of staff.”

Nigel Kee, executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, said the number of people who came into the hospital from Friday to Sunday was at “the usual level” expected for this time of year but Monday had been busier than predicted.

He said: “Despite this rise, our staff worked extremely hard throughout the day and made sure that all of these patients were seen, treated and discharged within four hours.”

In Essex, the only day attendance at Colchester General Hospital’s A&E department exceeded expectation was on Easter Sunday, when 247 people turned up for treatment.

A spokeswoman for James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Great Yarmouth said staff had dealt well with the “high demand”.

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