Northampton General Hospital is urging bank holiday revellers not to visit A&E this weekend unless it is an absolute emergency.
Pressure is building on the county's hospitals in the run-up to the weekend and could be slowed to a crawl by people looking for treatment that would be better seen by a GP or pharmacist.
In the past week, more than 350 patients a day have attended the emergency department at Northampton General Hospital.
Carl Holland, NGH’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, said ‘We are seeing a high number of people who are very unwell, some of whom have waited longer than they should to seek medical advice and consequently have required emergency admission, whereas if they had seen their GP sooner, a hospital admission may have been avoided.
"Patients attending inappropriately are being referred back to their GP if they are well enough, or asked to seek advice from their local pharmacy in order that we can focus on our patients who need emergency care and treatment."
The hospital is also asking anyone with relatives due to be discharged to do everything they can to support them as this will help maintain hospital flow and free beds for serious medical emergencies.
People who require health services over the bank holiday weekend have a number of options including:
· NHS 111 service – If you need medical help fast, but your condition is not life threatening, call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the freephone number is staffed by trained advisors and experienced clinicians who can assess you, offer advice and direct you to the right place to get the medical care you need as quickly as possible.
· Northampton General Hospital MIAMI walk in clinic – For a minor injury or illness that needs urgent attention, this service is an alternative to attending A&E. The centre is located at Cliftonville, Northampton, NN1 5BD, and is open seven days a week. Appointments are not necessary.
· Pharmacy – Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy and you can speak to them without having to make an appointment. Your pharmacist can offer advice on how to look after yourself at home with rest and over-the- counter treatments. There are a number of pharmacies open in Northamptonshire over the weekend including bank holiday Monday. A full list is
available on the Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) website: http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/pharmacies/
· Self-care - A well-stocked medical cabinet can help you deal with minor accidents and injuries at home.
· Repeat Prescriptions - Don’t forget to order repeat prescriptions needed in time for the bank holiday.
Dr Matthew Davies, Medical Director, NHS Nene CCG, said: “If you do become unwell over the Bank Holiday weekend, there are lots of ways that you can get the care you need. No one wants to spend their Bank Holiday sitting in A&E if you don’t need to – there are quicker and easier ways to get treatment.
“Going to the right place for your condition ensures that you receive the help you require as quickly as possible, and it also helps to free up A&E for people with life threatening injuries and illnesses.”