Hospital A&E Departments still experiencing exceptional demand
A week on from the region’s worst winter weather conditions for five years, Somerset’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are asking the public to continue to play their part in reducing demand upon the 999 ambulance service and county’s Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E).
Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and Yeovil District Hospital are experiencing the brunt of the exceptionally high winter demand, with frail elderly patients continuing to arrive through hospital A&E each day, the majority experiencing heart and breathing difficulties, aggravated by seasonal flu-like infections.
Dr Ed Ford, Chair of Somerset CCG explained: “The support we received during the snowy weather from NHS staff, health professionals and the public was outstanding and shows what can be achieved when the community and NHS pull together.
“However, although the snow may have gone we are still experiencing exceptionally high demand upon the 999 ambulance, A&E and urgent health care services. NHS Trusts are working with social care colleagues to ensure that the sickest patients receive the treatment they need and return home once well.
“Members of the public can help themselves and their local NHS if they remember not to call 999 or come to A&E with only minor illness and ailments. Community pharmacies are open with advice and over-the-counter remedies. If people feel they need same day treatment they can contact their GP Practice, or visit one of the county’s seven community hospital minor injury units.
“If they don’t know what health service is best for their needs they can call NHS 111. The 24 hour health helpline will also advise where local services are, like pharmacies or Minor Injury Units.”
Last week, Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director, with NHS England wrote to all NHS Trust Chief Executives and health and social care commissioners, advising that demand across the NHS continues to be high and that NHS and local authorities were to ensure capacity was in place to manage this heightened demand over the coming days and weeks.
If you have only minor illness or ailments here are your options:
Common coughs, colds and sore throats can be treated with over-the-counter medication like paracetamol and by keeping warm and consuming warm drinks. Visit the NHS Choices web site for advice and information on a wide range of aliments and symptoms; www.nhs.uk
Visit a local pharmacist
If you're feeling unwell and need advice visit your nearest community pharmacy. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at: www.nhs.uk or by telephoning NHS 111.
Make an appointment with your GP Practice
Contact you GP Practice if you are ill and need a same-day appointment.
Call NHS 111
If you need health advice or become ill after your GP surgery has closed telephone NHS 111. The number is free to call and available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
If your call is not answered immediately please wait to be answered. The NHS 111 is also busy at this time of severe winter weather.
Attend a community hospital Minor Injury Units
If you have an urgent need for medical treatment there are seven Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital (Near Glastonbury).
Details of the Minor Injury Units’ opening hours are available by calling NHS 111 (the number is free to call from mobiles or your home telephone) or by going online to the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust web site at: http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/community-hospitals/minor-injury-units/
Life-threatening emergency? – Call 999 for an ambulance
If you or your family are experiencing a life-threatening emergency (heart attack, stroke, severe loss of blood or unconsciousness) you should telephone 999 immediate for an ambulance.