A and E restrictions still in place at Princess Alexandra Hospital

Politics / Thu 8th Jan 2015 at 12:41pm

NHS WEST Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) is continuing to urge people to only attend A&E if they are seriously ill, injured or have a life-threatening condition. A&E departments across the country are under extreme pressure and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow is no different.
Senior doctors across west Essex, together with the ambulance service are warning people not to attend A&E unless they have to and to only call 999 in life threatening situations.

Dr Rob Gerlis, chair of WECCG and Harlow GP says: “In order for us to continue to deliver safe and good quality care to our patients we need to make people aware of the unprecedented situation we are in. The message is clear, do not go to A&E unless you have to and only call 999 for true medical emergencies. If you need medical help or advice, but it is not an emergency call 111. NHS 111 is available free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Princess Alexandra Hospital has been accustomed to pressure on the A&E department, but this is exceptional. People need to be aware that A&E is not the right place for common winter illnesses, such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting.  It is very important that everyone understands the urgency of the situation and what you can do to protect our essential hospital services as winter continues.”    

Rob Ashford, Essex Locality Director at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We have seen a substantial increase in demand over the Christmas period – a trend reflected across the country. Despite these pressures, we have coped well. However, we would encourage to think carefully about where to get help – if you need help but it is not an emergency please call the 24/7 NHS helpline 111, visit your GP or even pop in to talk to your local pharmacist.”
In addition to calling NHS 111, you can ask your local pharmacy about what you need to keep you and your family healthy at home by managing common winter illnesses if they arise. You can also pick up basic medicines like painkillers or treatments for minor coughs, colds and sore throats from supermarkets and local shops.

For more about your local services please go to NHS Choices.

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