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Heatwave puts pressure on region’s hospitals

PUBLISHED: 15:51 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 August 2018

Dehydration and severe sunburn are just two complaints clinicians at Norfolk’s hospitals have been confronted with during the recent heatwave.

The hot weather put pressure on the region’s hospitals, with Anna Davidson, chairman of the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, saying there were “similar levels of demand [...] to the most difficult winter weeks.”

She said earlier this week, the number of patients visiting A&E was just one less than their “all time winter high” and beds were “very full”.

But she said staff were “smiling and caring”.

Graham Wilde, the hospital’s chief operating officer, added: “The number of people visiting our accident and emergency department has dramatically increased in recent weeks and we have seen bed occupancy at peak winter levels. We have seen cases including severe sunburn and many cases of dehydration, which is why we have been encouraging people to follow advice issued nationally to keep hydrated and to keep cool.”

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEHThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEH

At the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, there was an 11pc increase in A&E attendances in July compared to the year before, and a 10pc increase in ambulance arrivals.

A spokesman said: “We’d urge people to heed NHS advice around keeping hydrated, staying sun safe, and to check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours. Please contact your pharmacist, GP or NHS 111 if you need medical advice.”

And staff were also thanked for their efforts.

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, staff were given free lollies and refrigerated water to help them cope in the heat.

And although the hospital had seen a rise in the number of patients at the front door, it was not thought it was solely due to the heat.

Medical director Dr Nick Lyons said: “Whilst our emergency department has been busier than we might expect at this time of year, this cannot be attributed to the heat alone.

“Our staff have done a fantastic job and continue to work extremely hard to keep on top of the situation.”

NHS advice for dealing with extreme temperatures include staying inside between 11am and 3pm, especially for those who are elderly or vulnerable. The health service also advises to cover up or stay in the shade, and to stay hydrated.

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