Staff at Cornwall's hospitals were kept as busy as ever over the Christmas and New Year period. 

There were more than 1,600 emergency department and urgent care centre attendances and 78 babies born throughout the Christmas and New Year holidays, in Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust centres. 

Emergency department activity peaked on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day with 173 and 206 attendances respectively.

The busy Boxing Day picture was similar for West Cornwall Hospital’s urgent care centre, but here the next busiest day was January 30 when the team saw just short of 70 patients throughout the 24 hour period.

New Year’s Eve night shift was particularly busy in the Emergency Department at RCH with 83 patients attending between 10pm and 8am. In total there were 917 emergency admissions to hospital wards across the holiday period.

Emergency department consultant, Dr Anna Shekhdar said: “As expected it was a busy time for us and we did assess and treat a large number of acutely unwell or seriously injured patients.

"In addition to alcohol-related presentations, which we have unfortunately come to expect particularly during the festive season, there were also many acutely unwell patients with a variety of medical and surgical problems who needed treatment at this time.

“We had planned for a surge in numbers over the Christmas holidays and the staffing in the Emergency Department was adapted accordingly in order that we could deliver the best patient care possible at all times. I’d certainly want thanks to thank all of the staff in the Emergency Department and throughout the hospitals for their ongoing hard work."

Meanwhile the midwifery teams across Cornwall were busy welcoming new arrivals with twins Luke and Zach Robinson the first to be born at the Royal Cornwall Hospital just after midnight on Christmas Day.

During the eight day Christmas and New Year period 62 babies were born at the hospital, five at Helston Birthing Centre, three at Penrice Maternity Unit and a further eight born at home, including Jayden Dingle from St Austell who arrived on Christmas Day.

Behind the scenes hundreds of staff were working across our hospitals looking after patients in hospital and providing vital support services. Among them were the catering services team who prepared almost 300 Christmas Day lunches and the clinical imaging team who carried out almost 5,000 diagnostic examinations, including 386 MRI scans, 561 CT scans and 750 ultrasound scans.

Staff at the hospitals expect to see the increase in activity continue as they move into the winter months and are keen to reinforce the message about using the right NHS services when needed.

Dr Shekdhar added: “We will always treat those in urgent need but for those that are not there will understandably be a longer wait. We’d always encourage any patients who can be treated at their local minor injuries units to attend there.

"Better still for the more minor illnesses they should look after themselves at home or if required see their GP's instead of coming to the Emergency Department, especially out of hours when pressure is most felt on our service. Patients who do not need emergency treatment can detract our staff from those who really need their expertise.”

If in doubt the NHS Direct helpline 0845 46 47 (to be replaced by NHS 111 next month) can provide advice on the best service to use or visit the NHS Kernow Choose Better website: .