The Accident and Emergency departments at Calderdale Royal Hospital and Huddersfield Royal infirmary are extremely busy at the moment, and clinicians are urging those without serious, emergency conditions to speak to their GP, a pharmacist or stay home and treat themselves with self-care medication available in many shops and supermarkets.
Dr Mark Davies, Clinical lead for Emergency Care and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There are currently long waits in both our emergency departments.
“The numbers of people presenting with non-emergencies is contributing to the situation. We would ask them to consider other alternatives than coming into A&E.
“Emergencies will always receive priority in our departments and we would ask everyone else to bear with us and expect to wait.”
People attending with long-standing ailments which aren’t medical emergencies, are a factor in the delays. A&E departments are for life-threatening emergencies, such as:
- loss of consciousness
- acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
- persistent, severe chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
Many people are also visiting A&E at Calderdale Royal hospital with the norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, which is affecting waiting times.
Dr Alan Brook, Chair of NHS Calderdale CCG said “The norovirus is passed to others very easily, so If you have diarrhoea or are vomiting or feeling nauseous, please avoid going to busy places, such as work, school or hospital for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.
“It’s very important that you should also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.
“Visiting your pharmacy about common health problems frees up time for GPs and A&E departments, which are already stretched, especially during the winter months. If you’re feeling unwell in any way, please speak to a pharmacist or a GP in the first instance for health advice, or call NHS 111 for more serious health concerns.”
How does NHS 111 work?
The NHS 111 service is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a team of fully trained advisers. They will ask questions to assess your symptoms and, depending on the situation, will then:
- give you self-care advice
- connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP
- book you a face-to-face appointment
- send an ambulance directly, if necessary
- direct you to the local service that can help you best with your concern