Fairfield General Hospital A&E sees worrying peak in numbers over the weekend

Fairfield General Hospital A&E sees worrying peak in numbers over the weekend
28 January 2016

DOCTORS working in the A&E department at Fairfield General Hospital have seen the number of attendances soar over the weekend and are encouraging people to stay away from A&E unless it is an emergency.

On Sunday 24th January 194 people attended A&E at Fairfield General Hospital in what was described as a ‘very busy day’, and doctors remained under pressure on Monday with 184 attendances and on Tuesday with 186 attendances.

To ensure emergency patients can be treated in the quickest possible time the public are being encouraged to use other NHS resources in the community such as a pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre instead of coming to A&E.

By avoiding A&E and choosing the right service, patients will get the best treatment in the shortest possible time, whilst keeping emergency health services available for emergencies and life-threatening conditions.

People with minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs should try to care for themselves in the first instance and then failing that seek advice from a local pharmacist. Most of the time a pharmacist will be able offer people an over the counter remedy to their ailment. 

Keeping warm, eating well and being prepared can also help people to stay well this winter.

Dr Jimmy Stuart, Divisional Medical Director for Medicine at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said:

"Services across the NHS are under a huge amount of pressure. Our staff are working incredibly hard and like most Acute Trusts nationally, are seeing extremely high numbers of patients presenting at our three A&E departments and urgent care centre. Many of these patients require hospital admission and need medical care and treatment. This is compounded by inpatient bed pressures on our wards, with high numbers of patients occupying beds both due to clinical care and delayed discharges.

"The majority of patients requiring urgent treatment for what we call major conditions have included head injuries, falls, respiratory problems, abdominal pain and mental health issues. We have also seen a large proportion of patients coming to us with less serious conditions and minor complaints such as alcohol intoxication, back pain, migraines and headaches, ear problems, and sore throats. Many of these could be treated through local pharmacies, primary care and GP practices.   

“Fairfield General Hospital saw 194 attendances on Sunday 24th January, a very busy day for them and they remained busy on Monday and Tuesday with 184 and 186 attendances respectively. We are desperately asking the public to think carefully before automatically turning up to A&E.  

“Self care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats and upset stomachs. If treatment is needed for a minor ailment, over the counter remedies from a community pharmacy can usually help. 

“Only those people who are extremely unwell and in need urgent medical attention should come to A&E where we will provide the best possible care to patients in an emergency. We are asking the public to think carefully before coming to A&E if they can be seen somewhere else and please help keep our A&E departments free for those who are critically ill and who really need urgent care. ”

Choosing the right service to meet your needs this winter:

  • NHS Choices website (nhs.uk) offers up to date expert advice as well details of local services. 
  • NHS 111 is the non-emergency number open 24 hours a day. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and you will be asked you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.
  • Local community pharmacies can help you with lots of everyday ailments.
  • Your own GP practice may offer urgent appointments
  • Walk-in services
  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation such as choking, chest pain, blackouts, serious blood loss, suspected stroke or meningitis.

GP evening and weekend appointments are available for all Bury patients through a scheme delivered by Bury GP Federation to improve access to GP services in Bury.  Call your practice in the usual way to access this service.  

For urgent medical care out of hours call your GP surgery for further instructions.  

Walk-in services are available at:  

Bury Urgent Treatment Centre, open every day 8am to 10pm, no appointment needed.  For when you are suffering from an ailment, illness or injury that needs assessing quickly, but isn’t serious enough to require a visit to A&E.   First floor Moorgate Primary Care Centre, 22 Derby Way, Bury, BL9 0NJ.

Prestwich Walk-in Centre, open every day from 8am until 8pm, no appointment needed.  Fairfax Road, Prestwich, M25 1BT.  

Visit the NHS Choices Stay Well web page for advice about how to stay well this winter.