Frontline workers at two NHS trusts will hospitals in Cumbria are urging people to do their bit to use health services sensible as coronavirus restrictions ease.
Rachel Eastham, matron for the A&E department in the Cumberland Infirmary for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We really hope that everyone has a chance to enjoy the upcoming bank holiday but we really urge you to be careful.
“We are here for you and want to provide the best service we can for the population of north Cumbria so if you do have a mishap, all we ask is that you only come to A&E if your condition or injury is serious or life threatening.
“For everything else you should call 111 first who can give you professional advice on what to do and can get you an appointment with the right service if that is what you need.”
With A&E departments designed to treat the most serious and life-threatening conditions – everyone is being asked to #DoYourBit and think about alternative services such as pharmacy, GP and 111 online or telephone first, and not just to turn up to A&E.
Patients are urged to plan ahead by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance and ensuring a well-stocked medicine cupboard. Pharmacies are open throughout the weekend and can offer advice and over-the-counter medicines for most common ailments.
NHS 111 online is also a very helpful resource and can be used to help with any decisions about whether you need clinical assessment for your condition.
Rachel added: “For more than a year the national message has been protect the NHS and really this is the same – by calling 111 first you will do you bit to do just that, and on behalf of all my colleagues we want to say a genuine thank you for helping make sure that A&E services remain available to support those with serious or life-threatening conditions.”
While the number of COVID-19 cases across the region remains low, NHS teams – across hospital and GP practices – still face challenges such as reduced space in-hospital treatment areas and surgeries and the need to follow strict infection control measures to ensure patients and staff continue to be safe.
Dr Mike Bramble, interim clinical lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “With lockdown measures easing even further we are all enjoying time with friends and family. But we hope everyone will behave in a way that does not impact on their health, our emergency services and the wider NHS by continuing to follow the rules on social distancing and staying safe and using services sensibly.”
The region’s health service is asking people to keep supporting the NHS and #DoYourBit by remembering:
- To think pharmacy, GP and 111 online or telephone first. Only attend A&E or call 999 if you have serious or life-threatening emergencies.
- If you suspect you have COVID-19 stay at home and get a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk. You cannot access testing through A&E or GP surgeries.
- If you are visiting any of our healthcare settings, remember to wear a face covering and use handwashing and alcohol gel facilities.
- Attend appointments on your own, where possible, to limit the number of people on site and reduce the risk of infection to other patients and NHS staff.
- Keep your hospital, clinic or GP appointment. If you can’t make it, do let us know so we can offer that appointment to others.
This message was echoed by teams at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
Following the relaxation of some lockdown restrictions over recent weeks, emergency Departments at Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital are seeing an increase in attendances.
Compared with the same period two years ago (pre-pandemic) there has been a 6.5 per cent increase in people coming into the department.
Attendances in the last 30 days are seven per cent higher than forecast for this period. More patients have higher acuity (they are more poorly) with the percentage of attendances admitted 2 per cent higher than the same period two years ago.