‘Flu alert as cases contribute to pressure on Doncaster hospital emergency department
A surge in cases of ‘flu has contributed to a recent rise in visits to the emergency department in Doncaster’ hospital, say bosses.
Officials at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital, have revealed they saw around 280 patients a day in the department in January, which represents an increase of around nine percent on 2018, which was also a busier year than 2017.
They now say one of the reasons for the spike in attendance this month was ‘flu or suspected ‘flu, with more than 200 confirmed cases seen last month – a big increase over the previous year.
Between April 1 2017 and March 31 2018, there were 264 confirmed cases. Since April 1 2018, there have already been 324 cases, with around 200 of these recorded in January. Around 100 more possible cases are being double checked to confirm if they were 'flu.
The hospital has a ‘flu diagnosis tool so it can react quickly to these cases and ensure infection prevention and control practice is followed.
Since the weather turned colder, last month, there has also been an increase in falls, slips and suspected broken bones, in addition to people with breathing difficulties such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
David Purdue, Chief Operating Officer at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Since the beginning of the year, we have seen a significant increase in attendances within our Emergency Departments. This is due to a number of factors such as the colder weather and a spike in seasonal illnesses such as the flu.
“As a team, we try to ensure that all patients are seen within four hours, however with such an increase in demand, this is increasingly difficult to achieve. In order to help the service, we ask that all local residents only attend when they are in urgent need of medical attention, making sure that our doctors and nurses are available for those that need them most.” Most of the hospital staff have been vaccinated against ‘flu.
Last week the hospital urged people to only attend the emergency department if their condition was urgent and life-threatening, and asking them to use services such as GPs, their local pharmacy or the Same Day Health Centre, at Cavendish Court, South Parade.
Today they added that while the Minor Injuries Unit at Mexborough was busy last week, for the past few weeks attendance had been lower than last year, so they would would encourage people to use the service where possible.