Hospital bosses prepare for challenging Easter as emergency attendances break new records

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds

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Clinical staff and managers at West Suffolk Hospital are braced for a challenging Easter weekend as the numbers arriving at the emergency department continue to break all records.

Patients attending the department reached a new high of 241 on Monday, exceeding the record-breaking numbers seen last week when it reached 233 – the average is 174.

The reason for the increase is unclear, but the majority of patients are able to leave and go home again following assessment and treatment while the numbers needing to stay in overnight after attending is stable.

As the Easter weekend approaches, managers at the hospital are making contingency plans to deal with the current surge in demand.

They are also asking people to think carefully about whether the emergency department is the best place to go for help.

Chief executive Dr Steve Dunn said: “I would like to reassure people in West Suffolk that the care we are providing is safe and the hospital is well prepared for responding to sudden surges in demand for emergency care.”

“Waiting times in the emergency department are longer than usual for patients with more minor conditions at the moment, so if there are other ways to get appropriate help it is important that people consider this over the Easter break.

“Our contingency plans for peaks in demand over Easter are robust and we hope that as the weather improves into spring the pressure on our inpatient beds and emergency department will begin to ease off.”

Advice on where to go for help is available at www.westsuffolkccg.nhs.uk/be-prepared-for-the-easter-holidays