Higher A&E visits over Christmas in Devon, hospitals say

North Devon District Hospital
Image caption North Devon District Hospital said fewer people attended A&E over Christmas than normal

The number of people attending A&E at Devon's three major hospitals over Christmas was higher than normal.

Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E) said they treated slightly more people compared to an average week.

A Derriford Hospital spokesman said a "large number" of patients had head injuries and there was an "increased number" of alcohol-related incidents.

North Devon District Hospital said it received fewer attendances than normal.

All three hospitals provided statistics for the number of people attending the A&E departments between 23 December 2011 and 2 January.

'Common' reasons

The North Devon hospital said the number of people using its service was "typical" although "slightly less" when compared to an average Friday to Monday period.

It saw 1,078 people during the Christmas week compared to an average of 1,100 and attributed it partly to a "communications exercise" reminding people of other services they could use including NHS Direct.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said 2,627 attended Derriford's A&E over the 11-day period with the "usual sprains, falls and fractures that are common with the festive period".

The RD&E said 2,677 casualites arrived at A&E between the two dates with 737 of those admitted for further treatement.

The hospital said the attendances were for a "range of reasons around medical illness such as chest infections, heart complaints and minor injuries. "

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