HUNDREDS more people attended Salisbury District Hospital’s A&E this July in what health bosses said was an “unprecedented summer surge” due to the heatwave.

NHS England figures show that 4,832 people attended the hospital’s emergency departments last month, 421 more than in July 2017. Attendance in June was also higher than usual, with 4,559 patients arriving at A&E.

Nationally, record numbers of people flooded to emergency departments in July with respiratory problems, dehydration and other illnesses associated with the hot weather.

Across England almost 2.2 million patients attended A&E in July, 100,000 more patients than the same month in 2017, with emergency admissions also rising by 6.3 per cent.

An NHS England spokesman said: “As temperatures soared, the NHS saw an unprecedented summer surge last month with a record 2.2 million patients attending A&E, and, thanks to the hard work of staff, nine in 10 people were seen, treated and admitted or discharged within four hours.”

At Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust 91 per cent of people were seen, treated, and admitted or discharged within the four hour target period.

That’s down on July 2017 when 96 per cent were dealt with in four hours. Hospitals are supposed to admit or discharge 95 per cent of patients within the target time.

Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the increased admissions during the heatwave had given staff no respite from the pressures and stresses of winter.

“What is of particular concern now, however, is that the summer months are traditionally the time acute hospitals and frontline staff have to recharge the batteries - this year we have had no respite and draining conditions,” he explained.

Emergency admissions have also increased in Salisbury, and last month 1,211 patients were admitted after turning up at A&E, an 8 per cent rise on 2017.

Donna Kinnair, director of nursing policy and practice at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “With 20 per cent more trusts breaching the four hour A&E target in July compared to June, it’s clear our understaffed services are struggling to cope.”