The accident and emergency (A&E) department at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, experienced record attendances during the early October heat wave treating nearly 1200 patients between Saturday 1st October and Monday 3rd October – a record for the time of year.

Phil Moss, clinical director for A&E and major trauma, said: “The A&E department at St George’s is the busiest in London, so we are used to treating high numbers of patients all year round and our average is normally around 330 a day. However, the numbers we saw as a result of the hot October weather were well beyond the levels we would expect, with 424 patients attending on Monday 3rd October alone.

“Our A&E department saw an increase in alcohol related injuries and such patients often take longer to treat because communication can be difficult. We also saw an increase in minor and serious injuries to both children and adults caused by increased out-door sporting activities, road traffic accidents and falls from height. We also saw more elderly patients who were affected by the sudden high temperatures, leading to problems such as dehydration.

“Though many people needed emergency care, there was a large number who could have gone to a minor injuries unit, walk-in-centre, GP or community pharmacy for treatment. As the winter approaches it becomes increasingly important that the public to choose their health services carefully, to ensure that staff at A&E departments can focus on caring for patients with serious, often life-threatening injuries.”

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Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the communications team at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust on 020 8725 5151 or Outside working hours, please page the team by calling 0844 822 2888, leaving a short message and contact details for pager SG548.