Busy Christmas for Norfolk hospitals

Dan GrimmerIcy weather conditions contributed to the county's hospitals 'very busy' Christmas with hundreds of people going to accident and emergency departments.Dan Grimmer

Icy weather conditions contributed to the county's hospitals 'very busy' Christmas with hundreds of people going to accident and emergency departments.

Almost 1,000 people attended A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital between Christmas Eve and Sunday December 27.

Most were from people slipping over on the ice and sustaining fractures or bruising - though some were alcohol-related or linked to colds and flu symptoms.

On Christmas Eve there were 270 A&E attendances, falling to 171 on Christmas Day and rising to 235 on Boxing Day and 276 on Sunday.

An N&N spokeswoman said: 'We were extremely busy over Christmas. There were the usual cases of people with chest pains and flu symptoms but there were also more calls because of the icy weather.'

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Kings Lynn saw a dramatic rise in the number of people going through A&E.

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On Christmas Eve there were 125 A&E attendances with 40 being admitted, 102 attendances on Christmas Day with 32 being admitted and 154 attendances on Boxing Day with 43 being admitted. Most of the admissions were due to fractures from falls.

Fran Rose-Smith, divisional general manager for children's services and on-call director, said: 'The number of admissions made from A&E attendances was massive.

'We saw a lot of broken limbs and fractured wrists because so many people fell on the ice. Boxing Day was particularly busy. We have opened up a separate fracture clinic to deal with all the falls.

'It has been an exceptionally busy Christmas, mainly because of the weather.'

The East of England Ambulance Service's control room for Norfolk received a total of 387 calls on Christmas Day with 172 people taken to local hospitals for further treatment. This was 17pc higher than in 2008.

Darren Maguire, Norfolk's operational general manager, urged people to stay safe at New Year. He said: 'Historically New Year's Eve and the early morning of New Year's Day are some of the busiest hours of the year for the ambulance service.

'People need to take care of themselves and their friends as they celebrate.

'Adverse weather conditions have put the ambulance service under intense pressure over the last few weeks. We are hoping people in Norfolk will support us in preventing as many emergency calls as possible over New Year so that we can concentrate on providing the best and fastest possible emergency care for patients who are suffering serious illness and need urgent treatment.'

The James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, and the West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds were not able to provide details of attendances over the festive period.