Hospitals still at bursting point

IPSWICH Hospital was still at bursting point today as it continued to face severe bed shortages.The hospital has been on black alert the majority of the time since Monday, which means it has less than eight beds to offer patients.

IPSWICH Hospital was still at bursting point today as it continued to face severe bed shortages.

The hospital has been on black alert the majority of the time since Monday, which means it has less than eight beds to offer patients.

The situation has forced hospital bosses to keep open an assessment unit for longer than normal to tackle to influx of people needing care.

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said some patients had had to be moved to provide safe care and that the team was doing its best not to cancel or delay planned operations.

Meanwhile West Suffolk Hospital, which also remained on black alert today, set up a special area in its A&E department to care for people.

Ms Rowsell said Ipswich hospital had not come close to declaring a 'major incident' similar to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where ambulances were left queuing outside, unable to get patients treated last night.

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She said: “We are extremely busy but we are managing through. We are a very busy hospital and we have lots of plans in place to cope to make sure we always provide patient care.

“We never know just how many people are going to need our care. We have a growing number of older people and the profile of the community means we care for people with more complex problems.”

Ms Rowsell added that some staff at the hospital had offered to work extra hours to help but the hospital had not put out a general appeal for staff to work on their days off.

Meanwhile Prue Rush, spokeswoman for the Ipswich Hospital patient and public involvement forum, an independent body set up to monitor the hospital, said bed-shortage problems could increase if the weather got colder during winter.

She added: “It is not the hospital's fault, circumstances build up and there is nothing more they can do. It is not surprising that there are problems because it is winter.

“There aren't enough services outside hospital available so people can't be discharged into the community.

“If we have a flu outbreak we will be really severely stretched with our services and it could be very worrying.”

Are you worried there are not enough beds at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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