Huge pressure on Kettering General Hospital’s A&E department has prompted bosses to issue a plea to local people to stay away unless it’s a serious injury or absolute emergency.
The hospital in Rothwell Road says it is struggling to discharge patients because there is a lack of community support available.
There have been nearly 1,000 patients visiting A&E in the past week - up 10 per cent on this time last year.
Medical Director Dr Andrew Chilton said: “Over the past few days we have seen higher numbers of patients attending the Accident & Emergency Department than usual.
“Over the last four days we have had 998 attendances and 321 ambulance attendances.
“We also have significant numbers of patients who are ready to be discharged but for whom alternatives to hospital or community support isn’t currently available. This means that we have fewer beds available to admit patients into and consequently longer waiting times than usual within A&E.
“We need local people to help us by only attending A&E if their condition is a serious injury or genuinely significant medical emergency. If people need advice and support they need to contact the NHS 111 service, their GP or their pharmacist.
“In addition the Corby Urgent Care Centre is open between 8 am and 8pm and can treat minor injuries such as cuts or sprains.
If there is anything families can do to help with the safe discharge of their loved ones from hospital that would then free up space for other patients this would also help tremendously.”
The hospital gave examples of appropriate use of A&E as:
Serious medical problems such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, collapse or heavy blood loss
Cuts which won’t stop bleeding/may have damaged tendons or may need stitches to heal properly
Burns which are large, or deep and need dressings
Limb injuries which are painful or swollen and could be caused by a broken bone
Examples of inappropriate use of A&E are
Coughs and colds – most people would be best to just stay at home or see their local pharmacy
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. Hospital do not have trained dentists in A&E
Trying to use A&E to get a second opinion rather than using the GP services.
Using A&E as an alternative to seeing your GP