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East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has faced its busiest day ever, prompting pressures normally seen in the winter to be deemed the norm all year round.
The A&E department in Blackburn dealt with 738 people on 8 July - a 15 per cent rise compared to a what is seen as a ‘normal’ Monday at the hospital.
East Lancashire's chief executive Kevin McGee told the BBC that hospital chiefs were trying to understand what had caused the spike, stressing that the numbers seen ‘are quite extreme’ and that ‘the pressure is like that all year round’. He said a combination of under-staffing, under-funding and education relating to when people needed emergency care were to blame.
McGee said: “We used to talk about winter pressures and numbers increasing in winter and now the pressure is like that all year round. I think this is now becoming the norm. We need to plan and think about that and make sure we've got the appropriate staff in to cope with these pressures.”
The Nuffield Trust think tank has reported that the problems seen in Lancashire were more ‘widespread’ in England than most realise and it was leading to longer waiting times.