Stretched Doncaster A&E department suffers one of busiest winter months in recent years

Doncaster Royal Infirmary's accident and emergency department.

Doncaster Royal Infirmary's accident and emergency department.

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The A&E department at a Doncaster hospital has suffered one of its busiest winter months in years, new figures have revealed.

Visitors to the packed accident and emergency department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary reached record levels in January, when 8,035 people attended.

This amounts to an 18 per cent rise on the number of attendances for the same month in 2015 and marks the highest number of January visits to the department since 2011, according to the figures released by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hopsitals Trust.

January also had the highest number of attendances to accident and emergency in the 2015-16 financial year.

David Purdue, chief operating officer, urged people to seek advice first from their GP, pharmacist or the NHS 111 advice line in a bid to ease pressure in the casualty department.

He added: “Like many other hospitals across the whole of South Yorkshire we experienced unprecedented pressure on our Emergency Departments in January. We have been using national best practice to triage and treat patients through our emergency departments, which has enabled us to see the majority of our patients within four hours.

“We work closely with all the health and social care organisations across Doncaster and Bassetlaw to make sure local people receive the most appropriate urgent care treatment for them, at the right place.

“Once again, want to express my sincere thanks to staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly under such extreme pressure to make sure our patients were seen.”

The figures come as the British Medical Association confirmed junior doctors in England are set to escalate their strike action next month to include a walkout of emergency care.

Statistics from DBH have also shown the hospital failed to meet the national target of 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours, with a rate of 92.06 per cent.

Despite this, the trust has still been found to be the 28th best performing out of 138.

Nationally, a total of 1.9m people walked into casualty units in January – an increase of 175,000 compared with the same month last year.

Don Valley MP, Caroline Flint said: “Locally, the Clinical Commissioning group is feeling the strain of the national shortage of GPs; and when people cannot easily see a GP, they turn to

our hospital’s A&E.

The January figures, where it failed to meet the four hour wait target, shows it is facing extra strain. Doncaster needs more help from Government to solve our GP recruitment crisis.”