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Only visit A&E in an emergency, say doctors; pandemic is still posing challenges in hospitals - nhs chiefs.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON Reporter

NORTH East hospital bosses have urged patients to only visit A&E or call 999 in "serious or life-threatening" emergencies.

Despite falling Covid-19 cases, space inside our region's hospitals is still at a premium.

Yet senior doctors say patients are still coming into A&E when they do not need to.

"Although the number of Covid-19 cases in our communities and our hospitals are continuing to decline, we still face challenges posed by the pandemic which includes adhering to social distancing and infection control precautions," said Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at Northumbria Healthcare.

"This means the space available to care for people and allow our staff to work safely still remains reduced by between 30 and 50% and we know this will continue for some time to come.

"At the same time, we know that many people who come into our A&E department could have been dealt with much more quickly and safely by an alternative healthcare service."

NHS chiefs have also urged the public to continue to follow the rules inside hospitals, even though cases are falling once again.

That includes wearing face masks inside, attending appointments alone where possible, and to stay at home if you have Covid-19 symptoms.

The warning comes after Sir Chris

Whitty, the UK's chief medical adviser, told MPs that the pandemic was not over despite falling infections and the success of the vaccine rollout. "Over the coming months as restrictions start to ease and the weather improves we are asking people to act responsibly, follow the rules and consider carefully the impact alcohol and other behaviours can have on NHS services such as emergency care," said Dr Rushmer.

"The support for the NHS has been amazing over the past year so we would like to thank all our communities but for all they have done to help us. Please keep this up, there are brighter times ahead if we all do our bit."

And Dr Jo Hughes, consultant in emergency medicine at Northumbria Healthcare, added: "We are continuing to urge the public to think pharmacy, GP and 111 first and only attend A&E or call 999 if you have serious or lifethreatening emergencies.

"Those that do turn up to our A&E department will, of course, be assessed clinically by a member of our team but will be re-directed to a more appropriate service for their needs if they don't need emergency care.

"By thinking of alternative services people will be doing their bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus, keep people safe and keep A&E for those that really need it."

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Author:IAN JOHNSON Reporter
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2021
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