Nearly half of NGH A&E patients could have been treated elsewhere yesterday

Patients are being urged to seek medical advice elsewhere as A&E patient numbers soar.
Patients are being urged to seek medical advice elsewhere as A&E patient numbers soar.

Northampton General Hospital is urging patients to use other NHS services as almost half of patients seen by A&E doctors yesterday could have received treatment elsewhere.

Northampton General Hospital is experiencing intense pressure on their A&E department this week, and doctors are asking patients to choose the most appropriate service for their needs and seek advice as soon as they start to feel unwell

To help ease the pressure on the hospital A&E should only be used if patients have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury.

Yesterday 449 patients attended A&E compared to 307 people last year, an annual increase of 142 people seeking emergency treatment.

Deborah Needham, deputy chief executive officer at NGH, said: “On average we are seeing over 420 patients coming in to our A&E department each day.

"Yesterday 46 per cent of people who came to A&E could have gone elsewhere for treatment. We are urging people to use other NHS services and make the right choice. We are seeing a lot of people come into our A&E with chest infections, which could have been treated sooner had people visited their pharmacist or GP.

"By seeking advice sooner you or your loved ones may be able to prevent your condition worsening and needing to come to hospital."

For patients who do not need to visit A&E, pharmacists are available with expert knowledge in medicines and are trained to help with minor health concerns.

They also know how to use the NHS app to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view your GP medical record, quickly check symptoms, and access NHS 111.

As well as this the hospital has also asked for the support of patients' loved ones when coming to collect relatives and friends as soon as they are ready to go home.

Medics have said the best way to prepare for their return to home is by ensuring food is ready for them, the heating is on to at least 18 degrees C, ensuring transport is available to get them home and being there to support them if they need it.

Mrs Needham added: “Unfortunately due to the pressures on our accident and emergency department we have had to take the decision to cancel non-urgent operations which require an overnight stay with us. We would like to apologise to anyone affected by these cancellations.

"We do not take this decision lightly and only do this when we need those beds to treat the sickest patients in our community. We will contact anyone affected and reschedule these operations.

“Our teams are working extremely hard to provide the best care for patients and will continue to do so over the winter period. We are so proud of how hard they are working and would like to thank the community for their ongoing understanding support for their local hospital.”

If you are unsure of which service you need or need urgent advice please phone NHS 111 or use their online service.