Hospital bosses have admitted that they are “under significant pressure” following what has been described as the worst week of A&E in the history of the NHS.
From Monday morning Milton Keynes Hospital opened 34 additional beds in 24 hours to enable patients needing acute care to be admitted.
And nearly 1,400 patients attended A&E between December 29 and January 4, with 318 emergency admissions to hospital beds.
Hospital chief executive Joe Harrison said staff were working “flat out”.
He said: “Although we anticipate and plan for a surge in demand over Christmas and into the New Year, we are seeing very high numbers of patients through our A&E department, and who require admission to hospital.
“This is placing incredible pressure on our clinical and operational staff, who are working tremendously hard to find beds for patients and provide good, safe care for those who need our help.
“We have already commissioned and filled 20 additional community beds for patients who no longer need acute hospital care but are not well enough to go home. We have opened every extra bed in the hospital that we have, and have also had to cancel routine planned surgery to care for emergency patients.
“Staff are working flat out, day and night, to care for patients and I would like to publicly thank them for their fantastic efforts. I do not underestimate how challenging it is for our doctors, nurses and support staff to work under such sustained pressure.”
He added: “We will continue to work as hard as we possibly can to provide good, safe care for our patients and to manage this period of high demand for emergency care.
“I would ask for the public’s help in attending A&E only when emergency care or treatment is required, and to use GPs (in and out of hours); the Urgent Care Centre, NHS 111 and our excellent pharmacies for help, advice and treatment for non-emergency health issues.”
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Milton Keynes South, said: “These latest figures are extremely serious. Milton Keynes Hospital, like elsewhere in the country, is clearly under huge pressure to deal with increasing demand. We have an amazing NHS team in Milton Keynes and we should all pay tribute to the incredible work they are doing. But put simply, they don’t have the support and resources for a new city of our size.
“These are the worst figures for emergency services since records began and it shows that our national health service today is under extreme pressure all round the country. Overstretched services are struggling to keep up with rising demands with patients waiting longer to see their GP and acute pressure on bed spaces at Milton Keynes Hospital.
“This is not just a winter crisis. Milton Keynes Hospital saw its busiest ever day in A&E in the middle of summer last year. The government needs to drop its complacency over the NHS and give Milton Keynes the resources we need. It is time we got a solution to fix the NHS in Milton Keynes.”