More than 250 extra patients were admitted to hospital every week at the trust which runs Colchester Hospital last year compared to five years ago.

NHS Digital data shows 202,060 patients were admitted to hospitals run by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust in 2018/19.

It was 14,100 more than during 2014-15 - the equivalent of 271 extra patients every week.

Health experts say there is an “urgent need” for more staff to address a surge in demand in the NHS, driven in part by the increasing number of people living with complex long-term conditions.

The biggest increase at the trust, which was formed after merging the trusts for Ipswich, Colchester, Clacton and Harwich hospitals in July 2018, was among planned admissions. It rose 39per cent from 28,077 in 2014/15 to 39,080 cases in 2018/19.

Emergency cases rose by 14per cent over the five-year period.

In 2014/15 there were 68,562 emergency admissions at Colchester and Ipswich. Last year it was 78,485.

Neill Moloney, managing director for the trust, said: “We are working ever more closely with health and social care partners across Essex and Suffolk to manage the rising demand on services.”