A STAY away plea has been issued by health bosses as the county’s hospitals continue to struggle with unprecedented levels of demand on A&E departments.
The public are being urged to use other parts of the NHS rather than turn up at the Alexandra and Worcestershire Royal Hospitals unless they have a serious or life threatening condition. These include heavy blood loss, chest pain, loss of consciousness or broken bones.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day saw 289 patients attend the Alex compared to 259 the year before, up 12 per cent, while there was an 18 per cent increase at the Worcestershire Royal with 334 patients attending compared to 283 the year before.
Staff are now bracing themselves for what is expected to be another busy weekend.
Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals, NHS Trust, said: “Whilst we are prepared for this to be the busiest time of year, demand for A&E services has been unprecedented and heading into this weekend, our county’s two A&E departments are under extreme pressure.
“We continue to encourage people to use all of the available health services available in the county and only attend A&E when absolutely necessary. We continue to work with colleagues across the health and social care economy to try and ease the flow of patients through the system as much as possible. I would like to personally thank our staff who have worked tirelessly over the festive period in what have been very challenging circumstances.”
NHS England has yet to release figures for the festive period but the first two weeks December saw an extra 1,353 people turn up at Worcestershire’s A&E departments and minor injuries units compared with the same period in 2013, a rise of almost 25 per cent.
Alternatives to A&E include calling NHS 111 for urgent medical help or advice, visiting the minor injuries unit at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bromsgrove, GP surgeries or pharmacies that can give advice on a range of conditions.