Healthcare bosses are warning the public to act responsibly on 4 July as Government restrictions ease and pubs and bars reopen.
Services across Nottinghamshire have seen a steady increase in people using A&E and now the NHS is asking the public to act sensibly to protect the key service for those who need it most.
The public are being urged to use 111 online if they are unsure which service they need instead of attending emergency departments.
Lisa Kelly, Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals said: “Our staff have worked tirelessly over the last few months to ensure people receive appropriate and lifesaving care under exceptional conditions.
“We are therefore asking the people of Nottingham to do their part by drinking responsibly when the pubs reopen on 4 July so that we can focus on real emergencies and those who need our help the most. Our Emergency Department is for those with serious and often life threatening injuries or illnesses.”
At the peak of the pandemic admissions to A&E were reduced by more than a half as the number of people turning up at Nottinghamshire University Hospitals and Sherwood Forest Hospitals fell from 8,290 admissions during the week of 2-8 March to just 3,688 in the week of 30 March – 5 April.
Latest figures show the number of admissions to A&E is rising with 6,438 people arriving at the emergency departments of Nottinghamshire University Hospitals and Sherwood Forest Hospitals from 22-28 June.
Medical Director for Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Dr David Selwyn, said: “We urge the public to act responsibly and to continue to look after their own health and follow social distancing guidance as lockdown begins to ease and we begin to see a rise in our Accident and Emergency attendances. Our Accident and Emergency department is open as usual, but if you do need medical attention please use our services wisely, if it is not an emergency and you are unsure please call 111 who will be able to direct you to the best source of help.
“We would also like to remind people that if you have a new continuous cough, a loss of taste or smell or a high temperature, to isolate at home and contact the NHS 111 online service to register your symptoms and thereby get tested for Covid-19.
“We continue to work with our partners across Nottinghamshire to ensure our patients are seen in a safe and timely way, thank you for working with us during these difficult times.”
A number of changes have been made to healthcare settings across the region to keep the public and staff safe, these include: wearing a face mask or covering, travelling to appointments on your own if you can and calling your GP or using 111 for advice before entering a healthcare setting.
Dr James Hopkinson, joint clinical leader at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, added: “As restrictions ease and life starts to normalise it is important to look after and protect our services from becoming overwhelmed. Health settings have had to adapt to the pandemic and we have seen a large shift in how patients are using our services.
“At the height of the pandemic, less people were turning up at A&E which, in turn, helped hospitals deal with the pressures and patients who needed our help were able to be seen quickly. There are alternative options to A&E such as the Urgent Care Centre on London Road or using NHS 111 online but it is important to highlight that should you need urgent medical attention then you do still need to go to hospital.
“We would ask the public to act responsibly, especially over the weekend and going forward, so that we don’t undo the positive work which we have achieved over the last few months.”
For more information on drinking responsibly please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/drink-less/