Hospital bosses are urging people to avoid going to A&E unless it is absolutely necessary.
Kettering General Hospital is currently under considerable emergency pressure and is urging local people to use NHS services appropriately.
They are asking people to avoid using A&E for any conditions that are not urgent medical emergencies.
Yesterday (Monday) the trust had 262 A&E attendances, 101 admissions to hospital beds and 90 emergency ambulances arriving on site – all higher levels than normal.
KGH’s chief operating officer Rebecca Brown said: “We are dealing with a large number of older people – often with multiple medical conditions – and these poorly patients have to be our priority.
“The average age of patients in our 618 beds is currently 76.
“Over the last week we assessed 310 patients over the age of 75 and 218 of these needed to be admitted to hospital.
“Clearly we would like to devote as much time as possible to caring for these patients so that they get well quickly and don’t need to stay in hospital for extended periods of time.
“Local people can help by not attending A&E for conditions which they could wait and see their GP for.
“Or maybe they could access other NHS services such as the Corby Urgent Care Centre, NHS 111 advice line or their local pharmacist.”
KGH has an animated appropriate use video on its website and facebook page that can guide people unsure of what to do on www.kgh.nhs.uk.
Maintaining a good level of discharges is also important to the hospital – in the last three days it has had 200 discharges but 254 admissions – and while they are working closely with local partners to achieve a good level of discharges the families of our patients can also help too.
Rebecca Brown added: “We need to get people home or into appropriate community care as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.
“One of our messages would be to the families of patients who are currently with us would be to support us to facilitate an early discharge home – or by helping us to arrange appropriate residential and nursing care.”
Examples of appropriate use of A&E:
- Serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse, or heavy blood loss
- Severe limb injuries which are very painful and could be caused by a broken bone
- Burns which are large, or deep, and need dressings
- Deep cuts which won’t stop bleeding/may have damaged tendons or may need stitches to heal properly
Examples of inappropriate uses of A&E:
- Coughs and colds - most people would be best just to stay at home or see their local pharmacist
- Old injuries or joint problems - are best seen by your GP, at least initially
- Queries about medication - these are best dealt with by your GP
- Toothache - you need to be seen by a dentist. Hospitals like Kettering General do not have trained dentists in A&E
- Trying to use A&E to get a ‘second opinion’ rather than using the GP service
Hospital bosses are also advising:
- Don’t visit people in hospital if you feel unwell
- Don’t visit if you have obvious signs of an infection – runny nose, sneezing, high temperature
- Don’t visit if you have experienced vomiting and/or diarrhoea in the last two days – it could be Norovirus and you may still be infectious