Busy Kettering A&E breaks patient number records and warns people of long waits
KGH posted to Facebook on Monday (October 14) to ask people to use alternatives if they could because the department was "extremely busy".
In the post, KGH said: "We urge people to consider alternatives using NHS 111, Corby Urgent Care Centre or a pharmacy unless it is a real emergency."
In a statement, KGH said pressure on the A&E department had risen significantly over the last week since Monday, October 7, with an average of 285 patients a day compared to 264 in the same week last year.
Saturday, October 12 saw the highest number of patients arrive by ambulance this year, with 111 emergency arrivals.
There was a peak of 309 patients on Thursday, October 10.
KGH's chief operating officer Jo Fawcus said: "We have been extremely busy in the department and that pressure has built up over the last seven days.
"We are seeing a lot of very ill patients and we would urge people with more minor problems to seek advice from other NHS services such as their GP, NHS 111, or their local pharmacy.
"Our teams are working very hard indeed to cope with this increase in demand which is putting a lot of pressure on the department and on hospital beds – which are close to 100 per cent capacity.”
The pressure on KGH's A&E follows a visit by health minister Edward Argar at Kettering MP Philip Hollobone's invitation to see the hospital's case for an Urgent Care Hub.
KGH has been campaigning for a new £45m Urgent Care Hub to replace the over-stretched A&E that was built to cope with 40,000 patients when it opened in 1993.
The department saw 93,000 patients in 2018/19 and is expected to treat 100,000 patients in 2019/10, well over its capacity.
A&E has been extended four times in the last six years and staff rooms and store cupboards have been turned into clinical rooms, leaving no room left to expand into.
Jo said: "[The Urgent Care Hub] will address the clinical, overcrowding, privacy, dignity and environmental issues that our A&E department currently faces.
It will deliver an improved care environment which will ensure we are equipped to cope with the rising demand for urgent care.”
KGH has not yet won funding for a new Urgent Care Hub but it was announced that the hospital will receive a share of £100m of health infrastructure plan (HIP2) seed funding to develop a business case and plans for improvements.
Philip Hollobone MP said he would not stop fighting for more funding for KGH.