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Hospital’s £785,000 extra funding to help deal with winter pressures

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

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A hospital has been given an extra £785,000 to help it cope with extra demand during the busy winter season.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon ParkerWest Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

West Suffolk Hospital said it had seen a “significant increase in emergency admissions” during November and December compared to the same period the year before, as the cold and harsh winter bites.

Over the Christmas and New Year, it said it had also seen a “significant and sustained increase in demand compared to the same period last year” and said that while it would minimise cancellation of non-emergency operations: “At the moment we must care for our sickest patients first.”

However Craig Black, executive director of resources for the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said he was pleased to receive a substantial sum - which is equivalent to 18 staff nurse salaries - from the £337m funding boost from the government for hospitals during the budget.

“Winter demand is placing a very real pressure on our organisation and on our hard-working staff,” he said

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon ParkerWest Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Photograph Simon Parker

“Our intention is to use the majority of this allocated winter money to provide additional staffing support in our emergency department.

But he said the public could also help relieve pressure on the busy Bury St Edmunds hospital, which takes patients from Thetford and surrounding areas.

“The public can also help us,” he said.

“For any non-life threatening or non-emergency issues, please consider using NHS 111, accessing your GP or speaking to a pharmacy.”

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said: “This is great news for West Suffolk patients and residents.

“We all want to know the NHS is there for us and our families whenever we need it, so I’m pleased the government is giving the NHS extra support at this critical time of year, when cold weather and flu can increase the pressures on hard-working hospital staff.

“It’s thanks to our strong economy that we can make this extra investment in the NHS. Polls show the NHS is the institution that makes us most proud to be British, and my party will always back and fund it.”

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