A&E admissions '20% higher than usual' at Suffolk and north Essex hospitals

Emergency departments in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals have reported a rise in patient numbers

Emergency departments in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals have reported a rise in patient numbers - Credit: Gregg Brown

Hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex have reported "very high attendances" in their emergency departments, after they treated more than 28,000 patients last month.

Emergency admissions to A&E departments at hospitals in England stood at 503,871 in August 2021 - a rise from 474,225 in August 2020.

The national trend was reflected by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which manages West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, and revealed admissions are 20% higher than is usual for September.

In August, the hospital saw a total of 7,340 patients in A&E - rising from 6,389 the year before.

This figure was also an increase from the 6,661 patients in August 2019, the last pre-pandemic data available to offer a comparison.

West Suffolk Hospital had previously warned last month that it was seeing some of its "highest ever attendances" at its emergency department.

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A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: "We are currently seeing very high attendances at our emergency department, of around 20% higher than usual for this time of year.

"We are always here for emergency care, but patients can help us by thinking carefully about the most appropriate way to get non-urgent help, for example from NHS 111 online or by phone, from your community pharmacy, or from your GP."

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The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, said the trust was prepared for a surge in patients.

ESNEFT reported a total of 18,118 admissions in A&E in August 2020, but that figure rose to 20,922 last month.

Neill Moloney, deputy chief executive of ESNEFT, said: "We are managing and have plans in place to cope with the level of demand in our emergency departments and urgent treatment centres.

Neill Moloney, managing director and deputy chief executive at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ANDY ABBOT

Neill Moloney, deputy chief executive of ESNEFT - Credit: Andy Abbott

"People must come to hospital if they are very unwell and need urgent or emergency care, but the best way our communities can support the NHS is to use services appropriately.

"If it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk first, or contact your local pharmacy or GP for help with minor or routine problems."

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