With the number of Covid infections rising and winter fast approaching, NHS leaders are urging the public to keep A&E free for serious or life threatening emergencies
NHS A&E departments are designed to treat the most serious, life threatening conditions, so everyone across the North East is being asked to #DoYourBit and think carefully before turning up.Is it an emergency?
The NHS across the region is also seeing a surge in hospital admissions of patients with confirmed COVID-19. Many Covid patients are seriously ill and receiving intensive care and support.
Please think pharmacy, GP and NHS 111 first before turning up to A&E.
A&E is coming under even more pressure than usual due to social distancing and infection control precautions. It means the space available to care for people and allow NHS staff to work safely has been reduced by between 30 and 50 per cent.
Where possible, please also visit hospitals on your own. This limits the number of people on site and reduces the risk of infection to other patients and hospital staff.
It’s also important to note that the public should not access COVID-19 testing through A&E.
We must protect the NHS
Professor Chris Gray, clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System said:
“We must all continue protecting the NHS by keeping A&E free for serious emergencies. People must think pharmacy, GP or 111 first, and not just turn up to A&E. NHS A&E departments are designed to treat the most serious, life threatening condition. That’s why local organisations are asking you to think very carefully before attending.
“While NHS services remain open and are here for you despite the rise in COVID-19 it’s vital that people do their very best to use the right services and continue to protect the NHS.
“Patients should continue attending their arranged appointments or seek medical help if they have significant concern regarding their health. This is particularly important for maternity services, people who may suspect cancer or already have existing long-term conditions.
“Many people who come into A&E could have been dealt with much more quickly and safely by an alternative healthcare service which also reduces the risk of transmitting Covid19 to other people waiting or NHS staff.
“This winter, more than ever, it’s vital that we don’t have large volumes of people in our surgeries, clinics and hospitals when they could have been cared for elsewhere.”
How can I help?
Because of the need to socially distance, hospitals have had to reduce space in waiting rooms. This makes walk in attendances much more difficult to manage.
By thinking of alternative services you can do their bit to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, keep people safe and keep A&E for real emergencies.
NHS 111 Online has provided a fantastic service during the pandemic and is a hugely useful system for the public. NHS 111 can make direct appointments at surgeries, pharmacies and urgent treatment centres. They can also send an ambulance for serious or life-threatening issues.