No patients turned away from A&E due to coronavirus workload
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Despite full intensive care units at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, no patients have been turned away from the Accident and Emergency Department because of Covid-19.
Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), pleaded with people to stay home over the first weekend of lockdown.
He tweeted on Saturday, January 9, saying: "Please stay at home this weekend.
"Please don’t underestimate the pressure on the whole of the NHS. You can help by simply doing nothing.
"Go out for some exercise but then please just go home and stay there! If you break the rules you’re putting lives at risk."
This was just over a week after he confirmed intensive care units at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals were both full, amid soaring coronavirus infection rates.
The trust has since reassured patients that they should use A&E if necessary and said: "We are here to care for everyone.
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"If you have an urgent need for care please do attend our emergency department. NHS 111 colleagues are here to help you get the right care at the right time.
"No-one has been turned away from our emergency departments because of Covid-19."
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Mr Hulme said as of Friday, 430 patients with coronavirus are being treated at both sites, however he is confident doctors and nurses have better supplies of PPE to deal with it than during the last peak.
The coronavirus alert level for the UK has been raised from four to five, which means the NHS is at risk of being overwhelmed.
In a joint statement issued on January 4, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) said: "Cases are rising almost everywhere, in much of the country driven by the new more transmissible variant.
"We are not confident that the NHS can handle a further sustained rise in cases and without further action there is a material risk of the NHS in several areas being overwhelmed over the next 21 days."