Northampton General Hospital consistently full in January

Northampton General Hospital's accident and emergency department
Northampton General Hospital's accident and emergency department
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Record numbers of emergency patients attending Northampton General Hospital has been blamed for the hospital being among the most consistently full in England last month.

NGH was ranked seventh worst out of 159 hospitals in the country in a league table showing how often there were no beds available.

Figures from the Department of Health analysis organisation showed NGH was at 100 per cent capacity on 12 out of the 22 days measured.

A spokeswoman for NGH said: “Like many other hospitals in the country NGH saw record numbers of patients attending at our A&E department during January, many of whom required admission to hospital.

“At all times patient safety remains paramount. We know that admissions increase during winter and we therefore opened an additional 28 beds during November 2012.”

NGH acknowledged that, as the Chron reported last week, the effects of the full wards include people being told their planned operations were cancelled at short notice. The spokeswoman said NGH tries to “keep any cancellations to a minimum and reschedule procedures without unnecessary delay.”

Kettering General Hospital was also twelfth in the league table. NHS bosses in Northamptonshire cannot be certain what is causing the steady increase across the county, but they believe several factor are at play.

The spokeswoman said: “This is a long term trend in the county which is probably partly due to a rise in population, partly due a proportional rise in the number of older people with more complex medical needs, and it is probably also partly due to people wrongly choosing A&E when seeking medical advice and care.

“Looking ahead we will be working closely with our colleagues at Kettering General Hospital, and with our new health partners - the clinical commissioning groups - to tackle these issues together.”

Part of the frustration of NHS bosses has been that patients can cut their waiting times from several hours to a view minutes by using a more appropriate service.

Advice can be given via NHS Direct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0845 46 47 or via

Alternatively people can visit their local pharmacist, who can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints.

The Northamptonshire GP out of hours service can be contacted on 03336 664 664 between 6.30pm and 8.00am on weekdays and 24 hours a day at weekends and Bank Holidays.