Pneumonia hits hospital

A SERIOUS respiratory bug has caused massive problems at Ipswich Hospital this month.

A SERIOUS respiratory bug has caused massive problems at Ipswich Hospital this month.

Different strands of pneumonia have swept through Suffolk with unprecedented levels of people left sick, including at least two of the hospital's consultants and dozens of its other staff.

At a meeting of the Suffolk health scrutiny committee Ipswich Hospital's chief executive, Andrew Reed, said the outbreak had put huge demands on the hospital.

He said: “The last three or four weeks have placed the hospital under absolutely enormous pressure.

“We have seen unprecedented levels of people attending Ipswich Hospital.

“There is a very serious respiratory bug going around at the moment - it appears to be affecting fit and healthy people.

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“Two of our consultants have gone down with the same bug.

“We have very significant problems with staff sickness. If we did not have the levels of sickness I think we would have been able to put in place more effective escalation plans.”

The hospital was forced to cancel all non-urgent operations at the beginning of January and turn one of its medical wards into an emergency ward because of the surge in the number of people needing emergency treatment for respiratory problems.

It was also criticised for leaving ambulances facing long queues outside the Accident and Emergency department, with some waiting for more than an hour before they were able to get back on the road.

And the hospital has regularly been on black alert throughout January, leaving it with a very small number of beds available for new patients.

Have you been affected by pneumonia? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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