PRESSURE that put  A&E at Hereford County Hospital on high alert last week has eased off over recent days.

Though 126 patients turned up for treatment last Sunday alone, that compares with a daily average of 145-150 since the start of the month.

The county hospital has now closed the temporary “escalation areas” set up to cope with A&E numbers, but Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) warned today (Tues) that there remained a real risk of high alert status being restored.

WVT said too many patients were still presenting for treatment that didn’t need A&E including “coughs, colds, bumps and grazes” on the evidence of last week’s rush.

The  patient surge saw A&E taking take “serious health conditions” only with other cases directed to alternatives including  minor injury units and  pharmacies.

Recent weeks have seen a run on A&E that even the hospital’s new clinical assessment unit - opened at the end of last year - is struggling to slow.

WVT put patient safety action plans in place and clinical teams again had to postpone operations - at least over this week - to meet urgent treatment demand.

Figures for December show A&E attendances increased with numerous spikes in emergency demand. 

Over that month, A&E attendances averaged around 130 a day and ranged from 96 to 193.