Joint News Release from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and East of England Ambulance Service: Holiday Pressure Temporary Facility

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) together with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) announced today that there will be a temporary facility put in place to help deal with a potential expected increase in demand for emergency care over the holiday period.

EEAST and NNUH are setting up a temporary mobile unit as a precautionary measure to help cope with the influx of patients into the NHS, and in particular demand for emergency services during the longer than usual holiday period.

The mobile unit will be used to increase the capacity of NHS services at the front door to the A&E department. It will enable ambulances to be released more quickly back into the community to attend to other patients and relieve some of the pressure on both ambulance and hospital staff.

Chris Cobb, Director of Medicine and Emergency Services at NNUH, said, “We have been working with our Ambulance Service colleagues to put in place a temporary facility to help deal with the higher demand from patients needing emergency care over this longer than usual busy holiday period.”

Neil Storey, Director of Emergency Operations at EEAST said, “We have been working closely with NNUH to look at meeting expected higher demand from patients over the busiest time of year for us and this temporary facility will enable us to release ambulances back into the community more quickly to respond to 999 calls.”

Notes for editors

1. Mobile Unit details: an assessment nurse from A&E will assess patients in the temporary mobile unit within 15 minutes of arrival. The patient will have the range of observational tests carried out, including blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and oxygen saturation levels and given an early warning score so that patients are treated in order of clinical priority. The facility will cater for low risk patients only. Patients in the Mobile Unit will be cared for by Ambulance Service clinicians. Once patients have been triaged by the assessment nurse, ambulance crews can be released back out to the community to respond to emergency and urgent calls.

2. The public are being urged to Choose Well over the holiday period:

• Keep warm both inside and outside
• When out and about in slippery conditions wear sensible shoes
• Take care when out for your Christmas party: don’t over indulge, have a dedicated driver who is not drinking alcohol or book a taxi ahead of time and look out for each other
• Stock up on your medications for the Christmas and new year period to avoid an unnecessary trip to your GP or hospital
• Check on your neighbours and see if they need a helping hand
• If you need help, use the right health service for your needs:

  • For very minor problems such as a hangover, indigestion, or a grazed knee, people should self-care
  • For minor infections, coughs and colds, advice can be given by local pharmacies
  • For ailments such as stomach pain and vomiting, a persistent cough or ear pain call your GP surgery, visit your local walk in centre or your minor injuries unit. Details can be found at a mobile phone-friendly website is also available at
  • Call NHS 111

3. Experts at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are reminding patients, visitors and staff that washing your hands with hot soapy water is the best way to protect yourself from Norovirus this winter.
a. The Norovirus stomach bug causes nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting and is very easily spread from person to person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
b. The symptoms of Norovirus last around two days and no specific treatment is required apart from rehydration. However, even after the symptoms have cleared up people may still carry the virus and infect others, so good hand hygiene is important at all times.
c. Our advice is to wash your hands as a matter of routine with hot soapy water. Hand sanitisers and alcohol gel will work against bacteria and flu viruses but they will not protect you against Norovirus.
d. It is important that people do not visit patients if they have been ill with a stomach bug in the past four days, or in contact with someone who has had sickness or diarrhoea.
e. Visitors are asked to only go to one ward to reduce risk of transmission of the virus.

Thursday 20th of December 2012 12:00:16 PM