People are being urged to think twice before they attend the emergency department (A&E) at Scunthorpe hospital following a surge in demand for beds.
Only those people who require emergency care are being asked to attend, those with less serious ailments and illnesses are being asked to use suitable alternatives such as their local pharmacy, their GP or walk-in centre. If in doubt ring NHS 111 and ask for advice.
Associate medical director, Mr Ashaolu Oltunde, said: “Staff in our emergency centre at Scunthorpe are working hard to see and treat all patients within a four hour timescale however this is currently very challenging.
“Some patients require further investigation or input from some of our specialty teams and many of the patients that are coming to the emergency centre are quite unwell and need to be admitted to any one of our wards. This is taking longer than usual as bed occupancy is very high at the moment. Our teams are doing their utmost to keep waiting times as short as possible but would ask people to please be patient during this exceptionally busy time.
“I would like to remind people that visiting the emergency department for a minor complaint, such as a cold or cough, is not always appropriate as the service is for urgent or life threatening conditions.
“I would encourage people with minor ailments to consider the many other options available to them such as their GP, NHS 111 or local high street pharmacy.”
People should visit the emergency department or call 999 if they needed an ambulance in a life-threatening emergency, such as:
Loss of consciousness
Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
Persistent, severe chest pain
Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.
If you think you are having a stroke.
For minor ailments like a cough, simple headache or upset stomach people should endeavour to visit their GP or pharmacist.
Mr Ashaolu added that it is important for people remember that the emergency centre is not an alternative to an individual’s GP. He said: “It is not appropriate for people to turn up at our door simply because they cannot get an immediate appointment with their GP. There is a strong possibility that such patients will be redirected to the GP surgery if that is the best place for them to be treated.”
He added: “Visiting the emergency department for an overgrown toenail, as we have seen many times, is clearly not appropriate and we hope that such practices are discontinued. For emergencies however, we are open 24 hours a day and we shall continue to try our very best at all times.”
Alternatives to the emergency centre:
· Your GP
· High street pharmacy who can offer advice and remedies for minor ailments
· Ring NHS 111 to ask for advice.