Posted by Beatrice Liddell at 19/12/2014 08:54:42
Hospitals in east Kent are currently extremely busy, caring for large numbers of people who are seriously ill.
The onset of winter weather has resulted in a surge in attendances at A&E particularly by older people and people with lung problems, many of whom need to be admitted for inpatient care.
The NHS has robust plans to provide the right treatment for people who are seriously ill but is appealing to people who don’t have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury to avoid going to A&E and to seek care elsewhere.
It is estimated that between 15 and 25 per cent of people attending A&E could be treated by another NHS service.
Dr Mark Jones, Clinical Chair for NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG and the East Kent Urgent Care/Long Term Conditions Integrated Care Board, said: “Winter is the busiest time of the year for the NHS, with cold weather leading to extra pressure on hospital accident and emergency departments as more patients seek help for heart, stroke and breathing problems. There are also more injuries from falls, while the spread of viruses such as norovirus can lead to wards being closed.
“If people have had a serious accident or consider their condition to be life-threatening, then A&E may well be the right place to go and we would encourage them to do that. But I would urge people with illnesses and injuries that can be treated at home, by a GP or pharmacist or at a minor injuries unit, to stay away from A&E and keep it free for those who really need the specialist care it provides.
“Use Health Help Now or NHS 111 and help the NHS to help you.”
If you have a health problem and are not sure what to do or who to contact, please use the Health Help Now web app which lists services and gives health advice and information for Kent and Medway: www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.
If you need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency, ring NHS 111.