NHS and care services across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are asking for the public’s help to make sure they can focus emergency care on the sickest patients.
All health and care services across the city and county have felt the strain as life returns to normal following Covid-19 restrictions coming to an end but for health and care staff the challenge of the pandemic has not gone away.
Latest figures show that in the patch there are 200 people with Covid-19 in hospital beds with 26 being in the most critical condition. At the same time the A&E teams are seeing increasing numbers of patients, with over 1,100 patients in just one day this Monday at King’s Mill and Queen’s Medical Centre. As a result of A&E being full patients are experiencing long waits.
Dr James Hopkinson, a local GP and Clinical Leader of the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “All our staff working in health and care services are trying to make sure we see people who need us. Teams are tired after 18 months of living and working with Covid-19 and all health and care staff are trying hard to see patients who need care.
“Pressure is on every part of the health and care system from our GPs working tirelessly to support all their patients in need to beds being limited in care homes due to staffing shortages and outbreaks of illnesses. As always we are working together as a system to do everything we can to make sure we get the care to everyone who needs it but we need the public to help us and only use A&E for urgent, life threatening emergencies.”
Dr David Selwyn, medical director at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Kingsmill Hospital, said: “We are here for every single patient who needs us, but please if you do not have a major, life changing illness consider visiting an Urgent Treatment Centre and if you are unsure visit 111.co.uk for advice on the best place for your needs.
“People turning up at hospitals with minor illnesses are waiting a very long time for treatment. We have seen people who have attended A&E with coughs and colds, which can be easily treated by a pharmacist or at home, as well as someone asking for their false nails to be removed which isn’t a medical issue. For more advice and guidance, visit 111.co.uk who can direct you to the most appropriate service.”
“We know we remind people regularly of the alternative services available but now more than ever we need everyone’s help to make sure our hospitals and emergency teams focus on those patients who need the specialist care only they can provide.
“We are asking people to use the most appropriate services available to them for anything that is not life threatening and if you are unsure visit 111 online. GPs are open and late appointments are available; and pharmacies can help with advice and give many over the counter solutions to colds, tummy troubles and rashes. Our urgent treatment centres are a good alternative to A&E if your injury is not life-threatening.”
With hospitals full and patients waiting for long periods of time, the clinical teams are doing all they can to make sure people in hospital who are well are able to return home. The hospital teams rely on families to help with getting their loved ones home and now more than ever that help is needed.
Rachel Eddie, Chief Operating Officer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, who run QMC and City Hospital, said: “We want to offer the best care to all of our patients whether it’s via A&E so they get the urgent care they need or a specialist team to treat cancer or other urgent conditions.
“Families can really help us at NUH by supporting their loved ones to go home whilst they await a care package or accept a placement in a care home. We know this is not ideal but we are grateful to families for continuing to do everything they can to support loved ones to return home so we can get patients who really do need to be in hospital into a bed quicker”.
James Hopkinson added, “We have been so grateful for the public support throughout the pandemic. We have been overwhelmed by kindness and thoughtful gestures. We know the public are incredible in their support and the biggest thing they can do now to help us, is to think about how they use our services. Our local GPs, urgent treatment centres and pharmacists are incredible and offer excellent treatment. There are evening appointments available and the waits are much shorter for minor ailments.
“We don’t want people to wait and we want to offer the best care we can, but saving lives is the main job of A&E and we must always prioritise life.”
The NHS is here for you and so if you are concerned about a new lump or mole or have any other health issues then please get in touch with your GP.
If it is not an emergency you can use a range of service, such as:
Pharmacies can offer over the counter advice and treat common illnesses such as colds, sore throats, stings and allergies.
Call 111 First
Once a patients calls 111 or visits 111 online they will be navigated to the most appropriate service, first time by a trained operator. The operator will even be able to book appointments and timeslots at the most appropriate health service for your needs.
Visit the NHS Urgent Care Centre