Festive pressure stays high on hospital accident and emergency units

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Stacey Hunter, the director of operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Stacey Hunter, the director of operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

Pressure on the district’s hard-pressed accident and emergency services was constantly high over the festive break, with admission numbers at one hospital almost doubling on one day.

A&E staff at Airedale General Hospital near Keighley were faced with “an exceptionally busy” week in the run-up to Christmas, with significantly higher admissions and attendances, according to Stacey Hunter, the director of operations at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

Friday, December 27, brought the highest ever number of emergency admissions at Airedale, almost doubling the A&E department’s normal Friday figure.

“While it has been busier than last year, these higher trends were anticipated in our winter plan and I would like to thank all our staff who have worked hard to implement our planned contingencies for such an increase and ensured that our patients have been safely cared for,” said Mrs Hunter.

Luckily, the winter sickness bug had not caused any wards to be shut at the hospital so far. But any relatives visiting friends and family in hospital are being asked only to do so if they are well and have not had any symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting for 48 hours.

Airedale Hospital had more than 85 emergency admissions on December 27 and in all just under 1,000 attendances, which was around the average expected for this time of year.

A spokesman said there was not a single event or circumstance such as the bad weather that had triggered the big numbers of admissions. Thanks to more GP surgeries staying open over Christmas, there had not been many inappropriate attendances at A&E either.

“We would like to thank our GP colleagues who have supported the local community by opening over the weekend,” said Mrs Hunter.

“Some will be doing so again this upcoming weekend, as well as our staff who have also worked incredibly hard to care for some very poorly patients.”

More than 40 GP practices in the Bradford district opened on extra days over Christmas with an NHS Stay Well campaign urging people to check if their own practice was open first and arrange an appointment there instead of going to A&E.

Meanwhile, winter has been a challenge in Bradford, but only as expected, according to a spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

He said staff in its A&E department and in other parts of its hospitals had been placed to respond to a surge in any demand for its services.

He said: “Our plans for the festive season have been carefully put together, based on previous experience, to help us maintain patient care when faced with a rise in attendances, which can be unpredictable and are often triggered suddenly by a change in weather conditions or seasonal illnesses.

“Demand for our A&E services has been constant this festive season. We continue to see a significant number of people attending our emergency department who don’t have an obvious life-threatening illness or injury.”

Comments (1)

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10:32am Thu 2 Jan 14

yezboss says...

Might have been less pressure on A&E had places like the walk in centres been kept open, I quote Hillside Bridge as one debacle. Suppose if you stop people going there then you can say its not justified and can close it all together. Methods in madness?
Might have been less pressure on A&E had places like the walk in centres been kept open, I quote Hillside Bridge as one debacle. Suppose if you stop people going there then you can say its not justified and can close it all together. Methods in madness? yezboss

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