Increase in emergencies at James Paget

STAFF at the James Paget University Hospital Trust have reported a 14pc increase in overall emergency admissions during the last few weeks compared with normal winter figures.

STAFF at the James Paget University Hospital Trust have reported a 14pc increase in overall emergency admissions during the last few weeks compared with normal winter figures.

During one week over Christmas, staff treated 400 emergency cases and much of the increase has been blamed on fractures and dislocations caused by the heavy snow and ice.

However, a spokeswoman for the trust said robust planning and the commitment and dedication of hospital staff had reduced the impact of winter pressures on hospital services.

The Trust has been on Black Alert status three times during the past week and some operations have been cancelled, rescheduled and prioritised according to the clinical needs of patients.

The spokeswoman added despite the adverse weather, patients had been treated safely and in a timely manner and the Trust had met its A&E waiting time target for the quarterly period ending in December and many patients were seen much quicker than this in line with the clinical priority of their condition.

The Trust has takes precautionary measures to keep patients safe and ensure those really in need of hospital treatment receive appropriate care during the winter, including:

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Additional beds at James Paget University Hospital and Lowestoft Hospital

Additional community hospital beds and increased medical supplies

Increased staffing, including nurses, doctors and social workers

Multi-skilled staff trained to cover other medical disciplines

A staff vaccination programme against seasonal flu and swine flu with high take up

Robust infection control procedures

Working with local partners in the NHS and social care to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

Wendy Slaney, chief executive of the Trust, said: “Our services are very busy, but we are managing demand. Despite the additional winter pressures, staff continue to give care of the highest order, while remaining focused on the safety of patients.

“People in the local community can play their part in easing pressure on the Trust's services by using them responsibly.”

Anyone with minor ailments can contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647.