Health leaders at NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging people to use health services wisely as Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital are experiencing extremely high numbers of attendees at their Accident and Emergency departments.
The hospitals are seeing large numbers of people who are attending Accident and Emergency departments with minor illnesses when they could be treated elsewhere.
As many as one in four people who go to A&E could care for themselves or use alternative treatment. A&E should only be used for critical or life-threatening situations requiring medical attention, such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, overdoses, ingestion or poisoning. People with minor injuries and ailments should not attend at the A&E department and are warned they will face longer waits than normal as more serious cases are prioritised.
Dr Matthew Davies, Medical Director at NHS Nene CCG 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. We are also urging people to do everything they can to speed the discharge of loved-ones in hospital who are well enough to leave, to free up space for other patients. This includes caring for them at home for a short time until alternative arrangements (such as home visits or a place in a care home) are finalised.
“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.”
People are being urged to use alternative NHS services where appropriate such as NHS 111, local pharmacies, and to make an appointment with their GP in the normal way. A&E departments will provide the best possible care for life-threatening illness and injury, but people should only go there in a real emergency. Those with minor injuries such as cuts or sprains have the option of attending Corby Urgent Care Centre between 8am and 8pm.
Staff are continuing to do all they can to ensure that everyone coming into hospital who need help gets the care they need.