Hospitals battle to cope in big freeze

HOSPITALS across the region are trying to cope with one of their busiest times of the year as temperatures struggle to climb above freezing.

Naomi Gornall

HOSPITALS across the region are trying to cope with one of their busiest times of the year as temperatures struggle to climb above freezing.

At Ipswich Hospital rotas were switched around so that those living nearer to the hospital worked different shifts to help those who had a further distance to travel. There is also an unused ward set aside for any emergency cases where staff can stay if getting home or getting back for shifts is an issue.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “We are keeping a close eye on the weather and have been advising everyone within the hospital to take extra care when coming onto the hospital site. We are doing our best to grit and sand the walkways.”

West Suffolk Hospital has also been exceptionally busy over the last few days with large numbers of people attending its accident and emergency unit.

Gwen Nuttall, executive chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “Due to the bad weather, we have been asking anyone who is due to be admitted to hospital or has an outpatient appointment not to put themselves at risk if travelling is difficult.

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“We would also like to remind people that we are currently closed to visitors in an attempt to contain an outbreak of norovirus.

“We're asking the public to work with us to control the outbreak by staying away - even if you don't feel unwell.”

Colchester Hospital was anticipating 188 admissions to the emergency department on Wednesdaybut there were only 114. Of these, only 14 were admitted as a consequence of falling over on the ice, however a spokesman said there were a high number of people suffering from conditions related to the cold weather, like bad chests.

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