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Middlesbrough's James Cook University Hospital opens 'winter ward'

James Cook Hospital Image copyright bbc
Image caption The hospital has seen an upsurge in demand at its A&E department

A "winter ward" has opened at Middlesbrough's James Cook Hospital in a bid to alleviate the pressure on beds.

It follows an upsurge in demand at its A&E department, which during December dealt with more that 600 patients than the same time last year.

The unit, which will be open until the end of March, has 18 inpatient beds.

There is also a lounge where 14 people can wait to be discharged or transferred elsewhere.

"Winter ward" manager Kerri Davies said: "We are on call to take patients from the under-pressure areas of the hospital, so the other wards can accommodate incoming appropriate patients.

"This in turn helps patient flow."

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