Kettering General Hospital is currently under considerable emergency pressure and is urging local people to use NHS services appropriately.
Please avoid using A&E for any conditions that are not urgent medical emergencies.
Yesterday (Monday, January 30) the Trust had 262 A&E attendances, 101 admissions to hospital beds and 90 emergency ambulances arriving on site – all higher levels than normal.
Kettering General Hospital's Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Brown said: “We are dealing with a large number of older people – often with multiple medical conditions – and these poorly patients have to be our priority.
“The average age of patients in our 618 beds is currently 76. Over the last week we assessed 310 patients over the age of 75 and 218 of these needed to be admitted to hospital.
“Clearly we would like to devote as much time as possible to caring for these patients so that they get well quickly and don't need to stay in hospital for extended periods of time.
“Local people can help by not attending A&E for conditions which they could wait and see their GP for. Or maybe they could access other NHS services such as the Corby Urgent Care Centre, NHS 111 advice line or their local pharmacist.”
KGH has an animated appropriate use video on its website and facebook page that can guide people unsure of what to do on www.kgh.nhs.uk.
Maintaining a good level of discharges is also important to us – in the last three days we have had 200 discharges but 254 admissions – and while we are working closely with our local partners to achieve a good level of discharges the families of our patients can also help too.
Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Brown said: “We need to get people home or into appropriate community care as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.
“One of our messages would be to the families of patients who are currently with us would be to support us to facilitate an early discharge home – or by helping us to arrange appropriate residential and nursing care.”
Thank you for your support in getting these messages to the public.
Examples of appropriate use of A&E:
- Serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse, or heavy blood loss.
- Severe limb injuries which are very painful and could be caused by a broken bone
- Burns which are large, or deep, and need dressings
- Deep cuts which won't stop bleeding/may have damaged tendons or may need stitches to heal properly
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
- Toothache - you need to be seen by a dentist. Hospitals like Kettering General do not have trained dentists in A&E
- Trying to use A&E to get a 'second opinion' rather than using the GP service
Don't visit people in hospital if you feel unwell
In the Winter time we often expect to have more coughs and colds and just struggle on with normal life.
But if you are planning to visit a friend or relative in hospital please think twice if:
- You have obvious signs of an infection – runny nose, sneezing, high temperature – it could be just a cold or might be flu. Even colds can affect patients in hospital and delay their recovery or make their condition worse.
- Experienced vomiting and/or diarrhoea in the last two days – it could be Norovirus and you may still be infectious.
Keeping potentially dangerous bugs like Flu and Norovirus out of hospital is very important because we have many elderly patients who are already unwell and whose resistance to these infections is often lower.