Highest-ever number of A&E patients visit Northampton General Hospital... and half shouldn’t have been there

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The accident and emergency department at NGH is currently seeing record numbers of patients with yet another increase this week.

Estimates indicate that current patient numbers are around 40 per cent higher than the same week in 2015.

But about half the people coming in to A&E could have received alternative treatment elsewhere.

GP Dr Emma Clancy, of NHS Nene, said problems are occurring in the evenings as people often think that visiting their local A&E or calling 999 are their only options when their GP surgery is closed.

She said: “There are actually lots of services that offer treatment and advice in the evenings and at the weekend, including local pharmacists, NHS 111 and out-of-hours GP services.

“It is really important that A&E is only used for critical or life-threatening situations such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, overdoses, ingestion or poisoning.”

The NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk is the recommended source of information for advice and minor illnesses and injuries can often be treated successfully at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet or with advice from a local pharmacist.

Dr Clancy said: “It’s really important to remember that if people seek the treatment most appropriate to their condition they will usually be seen much more quickly too.”