Hospital 'under severe pressure'

AN ESSEX hospital was at crisis point last night after admitting it had reached full capacity.

James Hore

AN ESSEX hospital was at crisis point last night after admitting it had reached full capacity.

Bosses at Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital have urged would-be patients only to attend the A&E department if they are “seriously ill or need emergency treatment” due to the “severe pressure for beds”.

It is the second time in recent months that the hospital has reached capacity and been forced to issue an appeal for people to stay away.


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A spokesman confirmed: “The hospital is currently extremely busy due to the high number of patients it is treating and is full to capacity.”

Philippa Lowe, the deputy chief executive for Mid Essex Hospitals, said the exact reason for the spike in patient numbers was not known at this stage.

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She said: “We are currently experiencing a very high demand for our services so we are advising people with minor ailments to visit their GP or get advice from NHS direct, wherever possible, rather than visiting our A&E department.

“We are coping with our emergency patients, but if people attend as a non-emergency they are jeopardising the care we can give to the people who really need it.

“We can't identify any specific reason for us being so busy, but we are treating a high number of very sick patients.”

Last night, Colchester General Hospital said it was operating at “amber”, on a red-amber-green scale, which is to be expected at this time of the year.

A spokesman confirmed: “We started the week in a good position and we have had the expected number of admissions for this time of year.

“We have also been able to discharge a number of patients, freeing up the beds and giving us capacity where needed.”

He said the A&E department was “reasonably busy, but nothing exceptional”.

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