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West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds declares 'internal critical incident' with 6.5 per cent of staff off due to sickness

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Directors at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have declared an 'internal critical incident' due to the demand on services.

The trust, which runs hospitals in Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket, took the decision last week in order to help relieve the pressure.

A spokesman for the trust said that 6.5 per cent of the workforce are currently absent due to sickness, with 3.2 per cent off due to Covid-19.

Craig Black, interim chief executive at West Suffolk Hospital
Craig Black, interim chief executive at West Suffolk Hospital

The announcement comes as several trusts across the UK have declared 'critical incidents'.

Craig Black, interim chief executive at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, confirmed that a number of measures have been put in place to help cope with demand, including extra focus on discharging patients.

“To alleviate the pressures across our health and care system in Suffolk, we have taken a number of actions in addition to our normal working practices, including opening additional beds and extra focus on discharging patients who are ready to go home," he said.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our staff have worked tirelessly to care and support every single patient who needs our care and I want to commend them on their dedication and hard work in very busy circumstances.

“The public can help us to be there for those patients who need us the most by getting their Covid and flu jabs, by using the free, 24/7 NHS 111 online or phone service for urgent health issues and only coming to A&E if absolutely necessary.”