People asked to avoid Kettering Hospital A&E after ‘unprecedented’ demand for services

Kettering Hospital says it is facing 'unprecedented' demand for its services this winter
Kettering Hospital says it is facing 'unprecedented' demand for its services this winter

Kettering and Northampton Hospitals have issued a joint plea to people to try and use alternatives to accident and emergency services after an ‘unprecedented’ demand for services this winter.

The busiest winter ever recorded for both hospitals has led to rearranged routine operations and some outpatient appointments.

They are putting the action down to the number of acutely unwell patients attending both hospitals’ A&E departments requiring urgent hospital admission has inevitably had an impact on all services.

All patients who are affected by the postponements will be contacted personally to have their appointment rearranged, so there is no need to contact the hospitals direct.

In a joint statement, a spokesman said: “Both hospitals regret that they have to rearrange appointments as they realise many patients will have to make special arrangements for their admission and apologise for the inconvenience caused.

“Both hospitals have seen a large number of poorly patients this Winter. Many are older patients, with multiple problems, or people who have severe respiratory conditions that do require specialist hospital care. It is a situation being mirrored across the country.”

Kettering Hospital’s chief operating officer Alan Gurney said: “We apologise for having to rearrange some routine operations and outpatient appointments but our first priority must be to appropriately treat medical emergencies.

“We have opened additional beds across the hospital to allow us to meet the care needs of patients.

“Over the last two weeks we have had a 15 per cent increase in admissions to hospital beds. Compared to the same period last year – when we were also very busy – that means we are receiving, on average, an additional 16 patients needing hospital beds each day.

“It is the busiest winter anyone can remember and we are treating an unprecedented influx of acutely ill patients who really need hospital care, sometimes for several days.”

Over the last ten days Kettering Hospital has seen 2,022 patients in A&E and admitted 899 to hospital beds.

Debbie Needham, chief operating officer at Northampton Hospital, said: “The situation at Northampton Hospital is very similar to that at Kettering General Hospital, and indeed to the situation across the country.

“We are urging people only to come to hospital in a real emergency and to use every possible alternative rather than using A&E.

“Clearly our staff are extremely busy dealing with medical emergencies so if people can find alternatives to A&E they are in effect supporting some of the sickest people in our local communities.”

Local GPs are assisting the hospitals by doing everything they can to prevent admission to the hospital and by liaising with KGH doctors on patients who can safely be discharged.

Local people should avoid coming to hospital for non-urgent problems and remember that minor injuries/illnesses can be treated by GPs, by NHS 111, or the Corby Urgent Care Centre in Cottingham Road which is open 8am-8pm seven days a week.