A&E at Northampton and Kettering 32 percent busier than 12 months ago, according to official figures
Covid cases and staff absences rise again following 'major incident' call by emergency services
Fewer patients visited hospital A&E at Northamptonshire hospitals last month – but numbers were still nearly one-third higher than over the same period last year, figures reveal.
NHS England data shows 10,912 patients went to Northampton General Hospital A&E and 8,331 to Kettering General Hospital during December.
NGH saw a drop of four percent on the 11,367 visits recorded during November although the figure was 32 percent MORE than the 8,243 patients seen in December 2020.
At KGH that was a drop of three percent on November's 8,612 visits but still 32 percent more than 6,327 patients from 12 months earlier.
Those figures show attendances below the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic. In December 2019, there were 11,665 A&E visits at NGH and 8,117 at Kettering.
Across England, A&E departments received 1.9 million visits last month, a decrease of eight percent compared to November, but 27 percent up on the 1.5 million seen during December 2020.
Local authorities, emergency services and health chiefs combined to declare a 'major incident' in Northamptonshire as the impact of a surge in Covid-19 case was felt.
More staff were off work through self-isolation and the number of Covid patients being treated in hospitals rose.
Latest figures from NHS England published on Thursday (January 13) revealed 161 patients being treated for the virus in the county — 96 in Northampton General and 65 in Kettering General Hospital.
Around 11 per cent of the hospitals' workforce have absent daily through sickness or self-isolation following a 15 percent rise at NGH last week.
At Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust in December:
■ There were 289 booked appointments, up from 236 in November
■ 69 percent of arrivals were seen within four hours, against an NHS target of 95 percent
■ 896 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit. Of those, 207 were delayed by more than 12 hours
At KGH in December:
■ There were 438 booked appointments, down from 456 in November
■ 989 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit
A spokesman for the hospitals said: “At both hospitals we are seeing a very high number of attendances at A&E and this is creating pressure across all departments.
“The NHS locally is very busy and we please ask people to think about the best place for their care instead of using our A&E services.
"You should only come to A&E in an emergency or life-threatening situation. Please help our staff to focus on our patients who need us most. If it is not an emergency we won't be able to see you and you will be redirected to NHS111 or other local services.
"Pharmacists, GPs, the Corby and Brackley urgent care units, NHS 111 and the NHS app are all there to provide free help.”