Heatwave sees A&E hospital admissions rival peak of worst winter on record
PUBLISHED: 19:31 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:31 10 August 2018
An East Anglian hospital has seen patient demand soar to levels not seen since winter's health crisis - this time brought on by the prolonged hot weather.
James Paget Hospital in Gorelston recorded the second highest daily A&E visitor number of all time this week – just one fewer than had been recorded at the peak of last winter.
Across the UK winter 2017/18 was officially reported as being the worst on record for the NHS.
A spokesman for James Paget hospital said A&E visitors had “drastically increased in recent weeks” with bed occupancy at “peak winter levels”.
“We have seen cases including severe sunburn and many cases of dehydration, which is why we have been encouraging people to follow advice issued nationally to keep hydrated and to keep cool,” the spokesman added.
“We have been asking people not to attend A&E unless it is a genuine emergency and have put measures in place to try to deal with the increase in patients coming in. Our staff continue to work hard to maintain patient flow through the hospital despite the challenges.”
Hospital board chairman Anna Davidson, tweeted earlier this week that the hospital beds “remain very full”. “Despite this extreme pressure, during visits yesterday I found staff smiling and caring,” she added.
At Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, however, the pressure is said to have remained within manageable limits.
“We’ve seen slightly higher numbers of admissions,” a spokesman added. “However, we are managing well.
“We’ve see more people coming to us for burns and dehydration, as well as a few more fractures, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
West Suffolk Hospital also reported manageable levels of demand.
Tara Rose, head of communications at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our hospital did see an increase in heat-related conditions and minor injuries such as dehydration, skin rashes and insect bites in the period of hot weather.
“However we haven’t seen a major increase in attendances during the heatwave, but continue to be steadily busy, seeing well over 6,000 attendances each month to our emergency department.”
People are advised to use NHS services wisely by considering a pharmacy or NHS 111 before attending A&E.