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'Busiest ever day' at Ipswich Hospital's Emergency Department - But bosses say they will cope with the extra demand this winter

PUBLISHED: 14:26 09 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:42 09 December 2014

Statistics released by NHS England showed that 96.6% of 1,398 patients who attended the hospitals emergency department were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour limit in the week ending January 18.

Statistics released by NHS England showed that 96.6% of 1,398 patients who attended the hospitals emergency department were admitted, transferred or discharged within the four-hour limit in the week ending January 18.

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Staff at Ipswich Hospital's emergency department were yesterday faced with their "busiest ever day" - but the hospital has today insisted it will not be overstretched during the winter.

Although the number of patients treated at the Heath Road site’s emergency department yesterday did not quite break its record of 330 in one day, a hospital spokesman said due to the nature and severity of the illnesses and injuries, it was the overall busiest day to date.

The resuscitation room was “full all afternoon” and 60 more patients were seen than the usual amount, the hospital spokesman said. The total overall number of patients treated in the emergency department yesterday was not known.

The hospital spokesman said the emergency department was “exceptionally busy” but stressed that there were no “specific capacity issues in terms of beds”.

The spokesman said: “We plan for the pressures that winter brings and we manage the hospital very, very carefully to make sure we are providing safe and compassionate care at all times.

“We are working very closely with all our colleagues both in the hospital and in the community to make sure we improve our resilience over the winter, building on our success we have had over the last 12 months in which we have demonstrated the hospital’s ability to manage activity and patient treatment within national standards – 98% have to be seen and treated within four hours.

“We are supported in this by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group who continue to highlight to patients the need to think about whether they need to visit the emergency department or whether there are other choices they should take.

“The East Anglian Daily Times and the Ipswich Star are also supporting us significantly with their campaign Make The Right Call during the summer months.”

The spokesman added: “In our emergency department yesterday we saw an unusually prolonged spike in activity, which means we saw an unusually large number of patients – both walk-in patients and patients arriving by ambulance.

“The people who came to us were very poorly and our resuscitation room was full all afternoon. There were more than 60 additional patients in the department from 1pm to 8pm.

“We had ambulances arriving all at the same time, which presented us with challenges because we had very unwell people all arriving together and all needing our care, but we managed it very well.”

Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital, heaped praise on staff for coping with the extra demand.

He said: “We have never been as busy in the hospital’s emergency department as we were from 8am until 8pm on Monday.

“The patients we were caring for were very unwell and needed immediate and urgent treatment. The whole hospital rose to this challenge in a fantastic way.”

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