December 22 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Bosses at Norfolk’s biggest hospital said they were at a loss to explain the reasons behind a huge increase in Accident and Emergency admissions this year.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is experiencing a more than 7pc rise in emergency admissions and A&E walk-ins, compared with last year, and Sunday has become the hospital’s busiest day of the week with patient numbers similar to when a tent was erected outside the Colney site on Easter Monday.
However, chief executive Anna Dugdale, said the NHS trust was hitting its A&E targets and coping with increased demand, despite being the busiest in its history.
The hospital has witnessed a 2.5pc year-on-year rise in A&E admissions and attendances over the last five years. But Mrs Dugdale told board members yesterday that since April, levels were 7.4pc higher than last year.
She added that around 300 patients were taken to the NNUH every Sunday, which was comparable with bank holiday levels, and officials were working with NHS partners to understand the spike in demand.
Mr Dugdale added that managers were busy planning for this winter to cope with a predicted increase in A&E admissions during the cold weather.
“There has been a really significant increase in emergency admissions. It is really difficult to tell why. We have received an increase in referrals from primary care and self presentation of patients. I think there is a change in consumerism and if you can not see your GP, where do you go?”
Mrs Dugdale said the hospital was working close to capacity, despite recruiting extra A&E staff. She added that there had been no repeat of Easter Monday where patients were waiting in ambulances for up to four hours and an inflatable tent was put up as a precaution.
John Fry, chairman of the NNUH, added: “It is a real compliment that A&E is a success. There is a big car park outside and it is open 24 hours, every day of the year, and it is a very powerful proposition for people.”