West Suffolk Hospital declared a critical internal incident as a result of staffing issues and patient pressures. 

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital in Bury St Edmunds, announced the measure on the morning of Friday, October 20, and has now revealed it was due to staffing, the number of patients needing treatment and the number of patients waiting to be admitted.

While the Trust said it did not see an increase in emergency department attendance due to the impact of Storm Babet, which devastated areas of Suffolk with heavy rain and flooding on Friday, a spokesperson said they have seen a year-on-year increase in A&E attendance. 

The Trust recorded 7,159 emergency department attendances in September 2022 and 7,680 in September 2023, an increase of more than 500 visitors. 

The critical internal incident, which is an internal process that ensures patients are seen as quickly as possible and involves the request of clinical staff to cancel all non-urgent meetings and focus on discharging patients that are ready to leave, was stepped down at 10.30am on Saturday, October 21.