Ipswich Hospital had ‘fully staffed and safe’ A&E unit over weekend after calling on help from Suffolk GPs

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust's accident and emergency centre.

The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust's accident and emergency centre. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Hospital “coped well” this weekend with the help of local GPs to cover gaps in the rota within its accident and emergency department.

Last week the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) sent out an urgent appeal to doctors in the county offering £100 an hour to work in the emergency unit on Saturday and Sunday due to senior staff holidays. It was also expected to be one of the hospital’s busiest weekends of the year in A&E.

Jan Ingle, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said there were 272 attendances to the department on Saturday, which is slightly above the average of 240-250. However, she said the hospital had seen more than 300 visitors to A&E on its busiest days.

Speaking yesterday, Mrs Ingle said the hospital managed to fill all of the gaps in the rota with the support of GPs.

“While we have been busy we are coping very well,” she added.

“The main thing is they were brilliant and we had a fully staffed, safe emergency department over the weekend to care for everyone.”

GPs were told in an email from the CCG on Friday that their help was needed to cover A&E over the weekend.

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A CCG spokesman said on Friday: “Emergency department staff at Ipswich Hospital will be delivering safe, high-quality services over the weekend.

“The summer holiday season is always a busy time for the department and we were more than happy to ask our GP colleagues to help out.

“Local GPs have volunteered their services as an additional resource to deal with those patients arriving with minor illness and injury.”

Payments for the GPs to work over the weekend in Ipswich Hospital were agreed by the CCG.

In the latest national targets, the A&E department saw 92.4% of patients within four hours in June, just below the national target of 95%.