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Pressure eases on James Paget Hospital in Gorleston

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

©Archant 2013

Pressure has eased at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston today following a period of unprecedented demand.

Getting help

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Ask your pharmacist

Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

See your family doctor

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it. Locally, IC24 runs the out-of-hours service for urgent medical problems that cannot wait until the next day. You can access the out-of-hours service by phoning NHS 111 direct

Visit an urgent care service

Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (infections, vomiting and stomach aches) and it can’t wait until your GP surgery is open. These urgent care services are often managed by nurses and some also have doctors. You don’t need an appointment and they are open outside office hours. Locally, the Greyfriars Health Centre in Great Yarmouth is open every day from 8am to 8pm.

The hospital dealt with a substantial increase in patient numbers arriving at accident and emergency over the weekend and into yesterday, leading to the declaration of a “business continuity incident” - previously described by the trust as a “major incident”.

The situation was particularly challenging on Sunday, when a total of 93 ambulances attended the hospital; the average number for a Sunday is around 50.

And yesterday people were asked to only attend A&E is their condition was limb- or life-threatening.

Today, the hospital’s alert status has reduced to “red”, and other providers have pulled together to help support the hospital.

This includes East Coast Community Healthcare who have made a total of 29 beds available at Beccles Hospital, including 10 from the now-closed Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth.

James Paget Hospital chief executive Christine Allen said: “The last few days have placed enormous strain on the hospital – and I know that many staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure safe delivery of services to our patients.

“But while our alert status is currently red, this can change quickly – and it is inevitable that we will face similar spikes in demand during the course of the winter.

“We will now be scrutinising the events of the past few days with our healthcare partners, to see if there are any improvements we can implement within the trust and across the system to ease pressure when the next surge in demand occurs.”

“In the meantime, we would still urge the public to remember that if it is not an emergency, other options are available instead of calling 999 or visiting A&E.”

Out-patient clinics and surgery at the hospital are returning to normal – and patients should attend appointments as scheduled unless they are contacted by the hospital.

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