THE CORONAVIRUS has been blamed for a drop in people using north and west Cumbrian A&E services, according to figures.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust run a number of hospitals in the area.

These include the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, which have A&E departments.

NHS England figures show 6,878 patients visited these units in November.

This is a 28 per cent drop in patient numbers compared with the same month last year, where 9,503 patients were seen.

Nationally the drop in admission is even worse with patient attendance rates averaging 30.7 per cent lower - compared to the same period.

Across England, A&E departments received 1.5m visits last month - 2.1m people were seen in November 2019

These figures also record a 15 per cent drop in the 8,068 visits recorded during October 2020, compared to November.

Nationally however there was only a decrease of 7 per cent compared to October.

A&E departments accounted for most for the majority of attendances last month, those with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care.

About 13 per cent were to minor injury units.

Commentary on the NHS figures said the drop in attendances nationally is "likely to be a result of the covid-19 response".

The NHS monthly figures, on A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions, also reveal a number of other figures for the trust in November.

For example it shows that 80 per cent of arrivals were seen within four hours, compared to the NHS target of 95 per cent - 516 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit.

For 23 patients their delay was more than 12 hours.

Separate data reveals that, in October, the median waiting time for treatment was 41 minutes .

Around 2 per cent of patients left before being treated.

The north Cumbrian trust also runs a number of community hospitals that provide a range of services, like minor injury units, in Workington, Brampton, Maryport, Wigton, Cockermouth and Alston.

In addition Keswick and Penrith community hospitals have Urgent Treatment Units.