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Colchester A&E restrictions will last for about a week

Colchester hospital has warned people to stay away from its accident and emergency department, unless they have a serious or life-threatening condition - restrictions which are expected to last for at least a week.

The announcement follows a surprise inspection by health regulators as ITV news reporter Harry Smith reports:

Labour: English hospitals 'overwhelmed by pressure'

Labour MP Jamie Reed said English A&E departments are in crisis. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Hospitals in England are facing chaos in A&E departments and being "overwhelmed by pressure", a shadow health minister has claimed.

After Colchester Hospital reported a "major incident" following concerns raised by a surprise inspection, Labour's Jamie Reed said people "deserve to know how ministers will turn this situation around".

"The Government must make a statement on whether the hospital is safe, has enough staff and if it is providing acceptable care," he added.

Minsters have ignored repeated warnings about the chaos in A&E across England and now whole hospitals are being overwhelmed by the pressure.

By making it harder to get a GP appointment, pushing elderly care services to the brink of collapse and wasting £3 billion on a top-down reorganisation, this Government has caused a crisis in A&E.

– Jamie Reed, shadow health minister

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NHS Trust investigating concerns over Colchester Hospital

The NHS Trust running Colchester Hospital says it is investigating whether staff followed policies appropriately after declaring a "major incident" following an inspection.

Dr Lucy Moore, Chief Executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Care Quality Commission raised a small number of safeguarding concerns when its team gave immediate feedback at the end of the inspection on Wednesday.

“The Trust takes safeguarding extremely seriously and is now investigating to find out whether our policies had been followed appropriately.”

Watchdog to continue monitoring Colchester Hospital

A sign outside Colchester Hospital. Credit: Charlotte Grant/ITV News

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it will continue to monitor Colchester Hospital after raising concerns over its Accident and Emergency Assessment Unite (EAU).

Professor Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the CQC, said: Following the inspection, we gave feedback to the trust about our safeguarding concerns so that it could take appropriate action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its patients.

"We will return to carry out further inspections at the trust and we are working urgently with Monitor to resolve these issues," he added.

The CQC will publish a full report of its findings "in due course".

Colchester Hospital declares 'major incident'

Colchester Hospital Credit: PA Wire

Colchester Hospital has declared a "major incident" over concerns raised by a surprise inspection last week.

The hospital has called on members of the public only to visit the hospital's accident and emergency department if they have a "serious or life-threatening condition".

It comes after an inspection by The Care Quality Commission on Wednesday raised "safeguarding concerns".

Peter Wilson, acting chairman of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, told the Guardian newspaper it was facing "unprecedented demand" on its services.

He confirmed it had declared a major incident, expected to last a week, to review various aspects of service at the hospital.

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Nahid Almanea murder: Arrested man released

A man arrested in connection with the brutal murder of Saudi Arabian student Nahid Almanea has been released, police said.

The 52-year-old man has been positively eliminated from enquiries, Essex Police said.

Essex Police asked the public if they saw a woman carrying this bag on the morning of Nahid's murder. Credit: PA

Nahid, 31, died after she was stabbed 16 times as she walked along a path in Colchester, Essex, on Tuesday morning.

She had been studying an English language course at the University of Essex as part of her studies for a life sciences PhD.

Police 'unsure' if Muslim dress was murder motive

Police search the scene at Salary Brook Trail in Colchester, Essex, where Nahid Almanea's body was found. Credit: Press Association

Essex Police say they cannot yet be sure whether Saudi Arabian student Nadid Almanea was killed because she was wearing Muslim dress. It is one line of inquiry, they say.

Nahid's body was found on a footpath in Colchester on Saturday. She had been stabbed 16 times.

Speaking at a press conference today, Essex Police also said they were investigating whether her death was linked to another fatal Colchester stabbing in March.

Police warn Colchester people after knife attacks

Police search the scene at Salary Brook Trail in Colchester, Essex, where Nahid Almanea's body was found. Credit: Press Association

Essex Police have advised people in Colchester not to visit isolated places alone, after two fatal knife attacks in the town in three months.

Nahid Almanea, 31, was found on Saturday near the University of Essex campus. She had been stabbed 16 times.

James Attfield, 33, was stabbed 100 times in Castle Park in March.

Police say a man in his fifties is helping them with their inquiries.

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