A SOUTHAMPTON hospital is on red alert as hot weather plays havoc across the county.

High numbers of people are rushing to Southampton General’s emergency department, stretching staff and causing long waiting times.

Now consultants are urging people with sunburn to stay away after an influx of cases added to the workload.

Dr Diana Hulbert said the main cause of the red alert was an increase in trauma incidents – but that hot weather – in particular sunburn – has played a part.

She said: “We have not had much in the way of dehydration which we sometimes see in the late summer, but we are getting some people coming in with sunburn.

“Particularly we are getting more small children in with sunburn and they get very stressed out by it and do not realise how simple it can be to deal with. It can be remedied without coming into hospital.”

Black alert is the worst case scenario when appointments and operations are cancelled and patients face long waits for beds.

As reported by the Daily Echo, the General launched a specialist trauma centre in 2012 and Dr Hulbert believes the quality of its care means more traumas are coming in from other counties.

She said: “There has been an unusual rise in major trauma and we have had some cases in from other regions. If you become good at something you do become a magnet because people know we do a good job.”

But even trauma cases can be traced back to the hot weather with more people injured in road crashes and suffering falls while trying to enjoy the sun, according to hospital staff.

South Central Ambulance Service has also issued warnings about staying safe in high temperatures.

The service has dealt with 12,354 call outs so far this month, 300 more than last year, and is urging people to keep hydrated, stay out of the sun if concerned and use factor 15+ sunscreen and avoid leaving children and pets in cars.