Health bosses in Northamptonshire are strongly urging people to help their local accident and emergency departments cope with very high levels of demand.
NHS Nene and NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are making the request because of current A&E pressures at both Kettering General Hospital and Northampton General Hospital.
People are being asked:
- Not to attend A&E unless their condition is a serious injury or genuinely significant medical emergency
- To use or seek advice from other healthcare services which may be more appropriate for their need
Dr Darin Seiger, GP Chair of NHS Nene, said: “Emergency health services are under pressure in Northamptonshire this week so we want people to think before they go to A&E or call 999. These services need to be free to deal with real emergencies and should only be used in genuine emergency situations.
“Our priority is to keep our patients safe. If you’re not sure what the appropriate service is, call NHS 111 and speak to someone who can provide advice on the best course of action.”
Advice can be sought from GPs and pharmacists, as well as from NHS 111. Those with minor injuries such as cuts or sprains have the option of attending Corby Urgent Care Centre between 8am and 8pm.
Examples of appropriate use of A&E:
- Serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse, or heavy blood loss.
- Cuts which won't stop bleeding/may have damaged tendons or may need stitches to heal properly
- Burns which are large, or deep, and need dressings
- Limb injuries which are painful or swollen and could be caused by a broken bone
Examples of inappropriate uses of A&E:
-Coughs and colds - most people would be best just to stay at home or see their local pharmacist
-Old injuries or joint problems - are best seen by your GP, at least initially
-Queries about medication - these are best dealt with by your GP or pharmacist
-Toothache - you need to be seen by a dentist. Hospitals do not have trained dentists in A&E
-Trying to use A&E to get a 'second opinion' rather than using the GP service
Local GPs are assisting the hospitals by doing everything they can to prevent admissions and by liaising with doctors on patients who can safely be discharged.