Under pressure hospitals across Cambridgeshire issue urgent warning on use of accident and emergency service

PUBLISHED: 08:58 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 08:58 26 February 2014

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon.

Archant

An urgent plea to only use Cambridgeshire and Peterborough hospitals in emergencies was issued today by the NHS.

People considering making a hospital visit are being asked to “consider whether their illness or ailment is really an emergency before they seek treatment at accident and emergency departments”.

A spokesman for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group said hospitals under pressure include Addenbrooke’s, Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough City Hospital, alongside community nursing services in the region “which are all currently under pressure.

“Emergency departments are extremely busy and patients are being warned that those attending with ‘non-emergency’ conditions are in for a longer wait than usual as patients are prioritised according to how unwell they are.”

Dr Neil Modha, group clinical officer said: said: “At this time of year it’s key that patients choose the right health services for their health problem.

“A&E should only be used by people who are acutely ill or who have life threatening problems, such as stroke, blacking out or have severe blood loss. By using the right service, treatment can be given quicker to those in need of urgent care.

“There are a number of minor illness and injury units in the region who can help with things like x-rays, wound stitching, bites, minor burns and scalds and sports injuries. “Alternatively, GP practices and pharmacists can help with so many minor ailments such as colds, flu, headaches, sore throats, ear aches, emergency contraception, skin problems and more. All of these are a good first port of call for help and advice, rather than attend the Emergency Department.”

For more information people are being advised to visit www.nhs.uk or call their GP surgery for health advice or reassurance. When surgeries are closed there will be a message on the surgery telephone answering machine giving details of the out-of-hours number to call for advice.

From April 2013, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) took over responsibility for commissioning health services across the county from NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Peterborough, the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). It currently holds a budget of £854 million and is responsible for a population of 880,000.

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