Accident and emergency doctors and nurses at Kettering General Hospital are reminding people that A&E does not stand for “anything and everything” over the Christmas period.
The hospital is asking people to think carefully about whether their symptoms merit a trip to accident and emergency before they visit the hospital.
This is especially true, says hospital infection prevention and control lead Pam Howe, where they have flu or diarrhoea and vomiting bugs.
She said: “People with those type of illnesses should not normally go to hospital for treatment and equally they should not go and visit friends and relatives in hospital.”
There has only been one confirmed case of norovirus – or winter vomiting – at the hospital this winter, but the hospital says that the illness is more widespread in the community.
Accident and emergency consultant Dr Tony Bleetman said: “The vast majority of people who come to our A&E department genuinely need hospital care, but unfortunately some people also use our service who really don’t need to.
“We really want to emphasise that A&E doesn’t stand for ‘anything and everything’ and that people should really think carefully about the alternatives before making the journey to our department.”
A spokesman for the hospital said the alternatives include visiting a pharmacy, making an appointment to see a GP, contacting the out-of-hours GP service on 0333 6664 664, or, for patients living in Corby with minor illnesses, visiting the Willowbrook Health Centre in Cottingham Road.