Public urged to stay away from A&E after post-snow surge in very ill patients

South Tyneside Hospital emergency assessment unit manager Laura Ord and consultant geriatrician Dr Becky Wiseman.
South Tyneside Hospital emergency assessment unit manager Laura Ord and consultant geriatrician Dr Becky Wiseman.

People are still being urged to stay away from accident and emergency departments unless they are seriously unwell or in need of critical or life-saving care.

The region-wide plea comes after the number of people reporting to A&E departments have soared since the snow melted - with high numbers of very sick patients requiring treatment.

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has thanked its dedicated staff in hospital and in the community for their extraordinary efforts to care and limit disruption to services during the severe weather.

Many doctors, nurses, and other staff slept on site, with friends nearby, or undertook long journeys to ensure they were available for their shifts.

Emergency Assessment Unit Manager (EAU) Laura Ord, who lives in Hebburn, said: “I couldn’t get transport home so I stayed at a friend’s house in South Shields and walked into work. I’m very proud to say that no-one missed a shift on EAU in the three days when it was particularly bad.”

Consultant Geriatrician Dr Becky Wiseman, who lives in Gateshead, said: “I had to start at around 7am in the morning and I got a lift in and brought a little overnight bag. I felt happier staying, knowing that I would definitely be there for my patients.”

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Ken Bremner said: “We’d like to say a huge thank-you to all of our staff for their amazing commitment and dedication in particularly trying circumstances last week. They epitomise the spirit of NHS employees who are always willing to go above and beyond in the best interests of patients

“Whilst the worst of the weather appears to be over now, NHS services are very busy and it is important that we have the public’s help to enable us to prioritise patients who are very sick.”

Hospital advice:

•Choose the right service: Use the NHS Choices website for health advice and information about where to go to get the right treatment.

•See your local pharmacist. If you start to feel unwell,get immediate help from your pharmacist before it becomes more serious.

•If you need medical help fast, but it’s not life-threatening or an emergency, call NHS 111 for advice.

•For many winter ailments such as coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms, people don’t need to go to A&E or their local GP practice and are better off taking some paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids and resting.

Further information about the flu vaccination is available here and https://vimeo.com/238061086 and on social media #jabdab