Heatwave and tourism spark all-time record numbers at A&E
PUBLISHED: 16:21 13 August 2020
Archant Norfolk 2013
Tourists feeling the heat have contributed to the A&E department of the region’s biggest hospital having its busiest ever month.
According to the latest NHS figures, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) saw 15,243 patients visit its emergency department in July - the most it has ever seen in one month.
And as a result, the added pressure saw the hospital again slip to the bottom of the national rankings for hitting the four-hour target of seeing patients, with 76.4pc being seen within the aspired time frame.
The latest figure is almost double the number seen during April, when Covid-19 was at its regional peak.
The hospital has put this down in large part to the number of tourists visiting the region who would normally be abroad.
With the pandemic placing restraints on foreign travel and quarantines looming at the ends of overseas holidays, more people have elected to take breaks domestically.
A hospital spokesman said this had contributed to growing demand for its A&E department: “The summer months are a particularly busy time of the year and this summer we have lots of tourists in Norfolk and Waveney and locals taking staycations.”
The region’s two other main hospitals also saw increases in demand for their emergency departments.
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The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston saw 6,345 patients in July, a 13pc rise on the previous month, while the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn saw 5,899, an increase of 11pc.
The hot weather conditions in recent weeks have added to the pressure, with a surge in heat-related admissions.
Joanne Segasby, chief operating officer at the JPUH, said: “We have seen increased admissions to our emergency department due to heat. This can be attributed to both an increase in the number of visitors to the area and to the number of people coming in with heat-related emergencies, particularly strokes.
“We would urge everyone to take on board national heatwave advice, including keeping out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and ensuring you are well hydrated by drinking plenty of water or similar non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks.”
Both the JPUH and the QEH saw fewer patients in July 2020 than July 2019. NNUH saw 13,327 in July 2019, while the JPUH saw 7,710 and QEH saw 6,309.
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