A ‘high demand’ for accident and emergency services at Pilgrim Hospital has sparked a call for people to help by only using the department when they have serious or life-threatening conditions.
A spokesman for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said no single incident had caused the pressure and estimated that up to 30 per cent of all those who visit A&E departments do not need to be there, as they have more minor illnesses and injuries that could be better treated elsewhere.
Medical director Dr Suneil Kapadia said: “We strongly urge people in Lincolnshire to leave A&E for those who really need it, otherwise we risk putting huge pressure on a vital and highly valued resource in our county. A&E is for people with a life threatening or serious condition, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, or serious accidents - those who need immediate attention.”
He added: “For people who want urgent advice or treatment, there are many alternatives to attending A&E. People can seek advice from one of over 100 local pharmacies, call NHS 111 24 hours a day, visit a walk in centre, or seek advice from a GP. We would advise people with minor injuries to consider attending their local walk-in centre in the first instance.”
Patients are advised to visit the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk to find their nearest pharmacy or walk in centre, their opening hours, and the services they provide.
The call comes amid the backdrop of a Save Our Services Campaign launched by The Standard over concerns that cuts could be made to the NHS including changes to A&E and maternity services at the hospital.
ULHT has said that across the county, the NHS as a whole is facing a £365 million budget deficit in five years time if nothing is done.
See tomorrow’s paper for more.