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Six East Anglia A&E Departments On 'Black Alert'

High Demand Over The Weekend Led To Black Alerts


Six accident and emergency department at hospitals across East Anglia have declared ‘black alerts’ for their services, the highest escalation level hospitals can use.

Demand for A&E services in the region has resulted in Lister Hospital in Stevenage, Peterborough City Hospital, Broomfield Hospital, Norfolk and Norwich (N&N) Hospital, King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) issuing the alert, while Addenbrooke’s Hospital declared a ‘critical black alert’.

High levels of demand over the weekend caused a backlog of patients at the hospitals, which staff have struggled to cope with.

The alert level means the hospital will be taking emergency measures, such as cancelling surgical procedures and opening day-only units, to help redress the balance.

There are concerns that the overstretched departments and those at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich Hospital and the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, could suffer even further as colder weather develops and peak levels of demand are reached.

According to local media, 53 ambulances spent more than the target time of 30 minutes at the N&N and QEH accident and emergency departments to hand over patients.

Expert Opinion
The demands and pressures on accident and emergency departments in East Anglia is well known and it is extremely concerning that so many hospitals in the area are struggling to cope with demand before the traditional peak period.

“Patient care should always be a top priority and it is crucial anyone requiring emergency treatment is able to access it at their local hospital. The declaration of black alerts at these hospitals means there is the potential for care standards to fall and mistakes to occur.

“In our work we have seen the significant impact delays in emergency treatment can have on patients and it is vital measures are implemented to ensure patient safety when A&E departments in the region come under such pressure.”
Guy Forster, Partner

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