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Stay Away From Hospital Says NHS!

Author: Chris Gomm Published: 30th December 2010 17:27

Stay away from hospital if you don't need to be thereStay away from hospital if you don't need to be there

Stay away from hospital if you don't need to be there. That's the message from NHS Northamptonshire, as our general hospitals in Kettering and Northampton and the local ambulance service continue to feel the effects of increased demand on our services over the festive period.

A rise in flu cases over the Christmas period saw both Nenedoc (the GP Out of Hours Service) and Accident and Emergency (A+E) departments experiencing very high levels of demand from patients, with 50% more people using the Out of Hours service compared to this time last year.

Examples of inappropriate use of A+E include coughs and colds, old injuries or joint problems, queries about medication, toothache, and 'getting a second opinion'. Appropriate use of A+E would include cuts which won't stop bleeding or may need stitches, burns which are large, deep or may need dressings, limb injuries which are painful or swollen and could be caused by a broken bone, serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse, or heavy blood loss.

To help cope with the increased demand and to relieve the pressure on our A+E departments, all local health services are working together to prepare for the busy New Year bank holiday weekend. Details of additional opening hours and services will follow tomorrow.

Colds and flu

For the vast majority of people, cold and flu are best treated through self-care with advice from a pharmacist. Our hospitals are, however, reporting increasing numbers of patients with suspected or confirmed H1N1 (swine) flu. If you think you may have this, you can check your symptoms on the NHS website

Those patients most -at risk from the flu virus, for example people aged over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, are advised to get their seasonal flu jabs as soon as possible in the New Year. Click here  for further details on the flu vaccination, or contact your local GP surgery.

Dr Mark Barrowclough, a GP and Chair of Nenedoc, said: "There are very high levels of seasonal flu which is adding to pressure on our services. For most people, seasonal flu is unpleasant but not serious and they recover within a week without needing to visit a GP, call Out of Hours or visit hospital.

"People with a heavy cold who want advice from a health professional should call NHS Direct in the first instance, available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, on 0845 4647 or click here  rather than visiting A+E or contacting Out of Hours."

Minor injuries and minor illnesses

In addition, don't forget there are a number of alternatives to A+E if you have minor injuries, including Corby Minor Injuries Unit and Northampton Minor Illness and Minor Injury (MIaMI). Click here

Repeat prescriptions

Another thing to think about is getting your repeat prescription sorted before the next bank holiday. Dr Barrowclough said: "We had a number of people contacting the service over the festive break asking for help getting a repeat prescription, which adds unnecessary pressure to an already busy service and prevents us treating those patients who need medical help more quickly. Please act now to get any repeat prescriptions over the New Year holiday period."

Which service is right for you - make sure you choose well

If you are not sure which service is right for you and you want further information about the options available, click on our Choose Well website.

Opening times

Finally, click here   for information regarding the opening times of local health services over the New Year bank holiday. NHS Northamptonshire wishes all of our patients a happy and healthy new year.


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