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Extra beds at West Suffolk Hospital ready for winter onslaught

West Suffolk Hospital has brought forward the opening of its winter escalation ward to meet demand after a busy October.

The Bury St Edmunds infirmary has this week brought the temporary ward, which is based on ward F10 on the floor above A&E, into action to ease expected pressure on the emergency department.

The escalation ward is for most of the year a spare ward that the hospital can bring into use when needed.

West Suffolk Hospital
West Suffolk Hospital

West Suffolk Hospital has one further ward prepared to open in January.

Alex Baldwin, deputy chief operating officer, said this was behind the decision to lay on the extra beds ‘a few weeks earlier than planned’.

This is after the Hardwick Lane hospital saw 19 per cent rise in people coming to the emergency department in October compared to October 2019.

Mr Baldwin said: “We are well prepared for winter, and working together with the wider health system to make sure patients get the best quality care.

“We are well-staffed, and have extra beds arranged in both the hospital and the community, which is all part of our business as usual planning for the season.

“I want to thank our staff for their continued hard work all year round in caring for the people that need us.”

He continued: “Due to the trust having an experienced nursing and medical staff team available and the preparations being made well in advance, we’ve chosen to open it a few weeks earlier than originally planned. This is a testament to the teamwork and excellent forward planning of our clinical and operational teams.”

Mr Baldwin said the public can help this Christmas by choosing carefully whether the emergency department is the right place to receive help.

“The NHS 111 phone service or a pharmacy are a much better point of call for non-urgent problems,” he added.

West Suffolk Hospital was rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission in their most recent full report. Last month the commission warned the hospital that its maternity services would need to improve in relation to monitoring and observations.

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