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UPDATE: Patients should use 'common sense' says council leader after "unprecedented demand" at Darent Valley Hospital A&E

PUBLISHED: 13:19 30 August 2017

Smoking will soon be banned across the Darent Valley Hospital site

Smoking will soon be banned across the Darent Valley Hospital site

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Hundreds of patients were treated on Tuesday

Patients were told to avoid Darent Valley Hospital’s A&E this week, as the hospital faced “unprecedented demand”.

More than 100 patients had already been treated by 12.30pm on Tuesday, sparking concerns nearly 400 patients could turn up at the department in a single day, without counting ambulance arrivals.

The hospital shared a message on its Facebook page urging patients not to use the department unless absolutely necessary.

A spokesperson from the hospital told us: “By sending out the message we saw 302 attendances and 75 ambulances which was a marked improvement on what was predicted.”

On an average day, the hospital sees just under 300 patients and 80 ambulances.

Council leader Jeremy Kite said patients should use their common sense before arriving.

He said: “It’s incumbent on all of us to help the NHS, I know from speaking to hospital staff that they want to provide the very best service they can.

“But even they can get frustrated when some of the people who are coming in to A&E do not need such urgent care.

“Of course the NHS is under stress, we need to improve young people’s health services to educate them on their bodies and make sure they’re looking after themselves.

“There are too many people, myself included, that are too unhealthy, too overweight and it is putting services under pressure.”

Jonathon Hawkes, Labour leader in Dartford, countered: “The pressure the NHS is under was completely reflected on Tuesday. It’s not just about patients and residents knowing what service to use, our health service needs to provide the services we depend on, what happened this week shows what happens when clinical commissioning groups don’t have enough money.”

Earlier this year, Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG announced a £17million deficit, blaming population growth and a lack of funding to match pressures.

The funding gap sparked a call from Labour councillors, then backed by Dartford council as a whole, to provide a fair funding settlement for north Kent health services, as the CCG warned it could face a £42m deficit by 2021.

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