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First winter report suggests busy times ahead for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 December 2017

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Queen's Hospital, flagship hospital of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

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Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital’s deputy chief operation officer has urged residents to access health services wisely this year.

The first winter pressure situation report published by NHS England shows 1,407 patients arrived by ambulance over one week at Queen’s and King George Hospital.

The report, which covers November 27 to December 3, also shows that 184 patients had to wait in the back of an ambulance outside the hospital for between 30 and 60 minutes.

Shelagh Smith, deputy chief operating officer, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

She said: “We receive more patients in ambulances than almost any other trust in London. We saw over 1,400 that week - that’s 200 a day and nearly 10 an hour.

“It was a particularly busy week across London. There was a real surge of attendances and many of the patients we saw were quite poorly and in need of admission.

“Any delay to patients is regrettable and we apologise to any patient kept waiting. We are working very hard as the winter approaches to ensure we are well prepared.

“These figures show how important it is for everyone to think really carefully this winter about how to stay well, and to be aware of all the good local care options, whether that’s visiting your local pharmacist, your GP, or using the GP hubs offering urgent appointments.”

In response to the report, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “These figures show a service under huge pressure with little or no spare capacity as the NHS approaches its busiest time of the year.

“The concern is that that if there is a serious flu outbreak or cold snap the system would really struggle to deal with a spike in demand.

He added: “The extra cash promised in the budget for the NHS this winter may alleviate some short term pressure but will not address the long term needs of the NHS and it’s a sticking plaster solution.

“NHS staff in our GP surgeries and hospitals are working flat out to treat patients quickly and efficiently, but they are under unsustainable pressure.

“Addressing these pressures requires immediate additional capacity in the system but also a long term plan from government to ensure the NHS is properly funded to deal with rising demand.”

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