Non-emergency patients putting Blackpool Vic A&E under unnecessary pressure

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Medics are urging people to only visit A&E in Blackpool if there condition is a real emergency – after ‘unprecedented’ numbers of patients swamped the department.

 

On one day recently A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital had 90 people waiting to be seen.

But doctors say a large number of those arriving at the casualty unit did not need life-saving treatment and could have gone elsewhere.

Head of Emergency Medicine at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Dr Anthony Kearns,said: “The Emergency Department (A&E) has seen unprecedented numbers over the past few weeks.

People are being urged not to go to A&E except in a genuine emergencyPeople are being urged not to go to A&E except in a genuine emergency

“Many of these are very ill people who do need our expertise. However, we are also seeing a large number of attendances that are not ’emergencies’ or life-threatening conditions and could have been treated elsewhere.”

Dr Kearns warned too many people crowding into A&E put undue pressure on staff and meant people could not safely social distance.

He added: “Crowding in A&E is not safe under the current Covid distancing regulations for both staff and patients alike.

“We need our community’s support to make the right choice.

“Help us to help you…help us to save lives – please talk before you walk and please keep us free for emergencies only.”

Dr Kearns said for many people the best place to turn to for immediate advice was their local pharmacy.

He said: “We realise the whole system is under pressure. Urgent treatment centres and GP surgeries are also very much in demand by people with community healthcare needs.

“This is why we strongly suggest that if anyone has non-emergency or chronic health concerns, that they perhaps visit their pharmacy or chemist who are highly qualified to give advice, and may then suggest a GP appointment if it is absolutely necessary.

“People can also visit www.111.nhs.uk where they will find a symptom checker. NHS 111 advisors can signpost patients to the most appropriate service for their needs and can even make appointments with a GP or here in the Emergency Department which will drastically reduce the patient’s wait time.

“Patients should also consider contacting their own consultant or specialist team, who already manage their pre-existing conditions.”