Health and care staff are making a plea to the residents of Bradford District and Craven to choose the right service this winter when feeling unwell, as emergency departments across the district see an unprecedented demand.
Alex Danecki, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says: “Departments across our region have seen an exceptional increase in patients in recent months. At Airedale Hospital Emergency Department we’re seeing an extra 80-100 patients a day, on top of the numbers we’d expect for this time of year.
“To help our teams care for our most seriously ill patients, we’d ask people to only come to the Emergency Department if you truly need emergency treatment. That means symptoms such as severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, or significant injury.
“Staff across health and care are working extremely hard right now and have done so throughout the pandemic. They are committed to providing high quality patient care and they’re doing their best under very challenging circumstances, so please be kind to them. By helping us we can help you and your family.”
If you don’t have a serious health emergency and are unsure where to go, you can visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111 (free phone number) if you don’t have access to the internet. NHS 111 will be able to advise you where you need to go to get the right care. They can advise you to self-care, go to your local pharmacy, book you a slot for a GP consultation or Accident and Emergency if necessary.
Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Senior Responsible Officer for the Act as One Respiratory Programme, said: “When our emergency departments are really busy like they have been, it means waiting times are increased as the sickest patients are given priority.
“We’re seeing high numbers of patients across both emergency departments with minor illnesses like coughs, colds, earache, sore throat, and minor rashes. These can be treated at home by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet and you can speak to your pharmacist who will advise you the best products to have. Remember over the counter medication is much cheaper than a prescription and can avoid an unnecessary appointment with your GP or trip to the emergency department. Remember, you can also speak to your pharmacist about your minor health concern, they are experts in medicines and can help you. If your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they will direct you to the right service.
“Finding the right care for you may be quicker and closer to home, please remember that emergency departments are there to deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies and accidents.”
Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health at Bradford Council, said: “All staff across health and care are doing their best in these difficult times with some tough months ahead.
“You can help to play your part by making sure you have had your COVID-19 vaccine, there are a number of walk-in clinics across the district if you’ve not yet had your vaccine yet, visit http://bit.ly/VaccineWalkInClinic. If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine you will be invited to have yours, please take up this offer.”
Here’s a short video clip from Alex Danecki, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Airedale Hospital, highlighting the pressure on emergency departments and what people can do to help ease the pressure.