North London hospitals beat the big freeze to continue as normal

WHILE hospitals in other parts of the country are struggling against the effects of the snow, the Royal Free and The Whittington appear to be defying the big freeze.

Both hospitals say the unprecedented cold snap - which has placed added pressure on the NHS with staff shortages and an increase in A&E admissions - has failed to disrupt their services.

The Whittington revealed that there had been an increase in the number of patients admitted for falls and fractures.

But a spokesman said this hike had failed to cause any major upsets at the Highgate hospital.

He said: “Staff have shown their extraordinary commitment through the weather and there has been no disruption to services.”

Meanwhile, the duty director of operations at the Royal Free denied there had been any rise in the amount of trip and fall victims on last year.

He said there had been “no more than usual or to be expected for this time of year”.

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A spokeswoman for the hospital also said there were no problems relating to staff and heating.

But London Ambulance Service said they had received a 100 per cent increase in the number of 999 calls in Camden relating to slips trips and falls compared the same weekend in December last year.

And between Friday, December 17 and Sunday, December 19, paramedics in Camden received 604 emergency calls, which is a 35 per cent increase compared to the average of the previous four weekends.

Camden Ambulance Operations Manager Natasha Wills said: “We’ve been very, very busy since Friday and over the next few days I’d ask the people of Camden to help us by using the 999 system wisely.

“There are a number of common sense things people can do to look after themselves so they don’t have to call us. If you’re going out wrap up warm, and take care if you’re driving on icy roads or walking on slippery pavements.

“People are calling us with very minor complaints such as sore throats and earache – we’ve even had somebody call us because they had a sore foot after standing on an earring. That could potentially delay our response to somebody in a life-threatening condition or an elderly person who’s fallen on some ice.

“Of course if it is an emergency, please call 999 immediately.”

Ms Wills urged anyone with minor illnesses or injuries can get help or advice over the phone from NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, or to visit a local pharmacist, out-of-hours GP service or a walk-in centre.