“If it’s not an emergency, don’t go to A&E” say top doctors in Barnet
Emergency health services across Barnet are experiencing demand as a result of winter illnesses and minor conditions that don’t need to be treated in A&E. Accident and Emergency departments are being stretched by the number of patients arriving at their doors, as is the ambulance service.
The situation is so serious that health bosses and the most senior doctors from Barnet are delivering a hard-hitting message to the public, Dr Debbie Frost, Chair of Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The Accident and Emergency departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions. Ambulances should only be called in serious emergencies. If you use emergency services incorrectly you are risking the lives of others.
“If you have a minor illness or injury you should not come to the A&E at Barnet Hospital or Royal Free Hospital or any other hospital: treating minor conditions will not be a priority. If you call 999 for an ambulance and your life is not at risk, you may be endangering the life of another person in desperate need of emergency care.
“For example, more than 300 people arrived at Barnet General’s A&E department yesterday (20 January), including several people who thought they may have flu and were asking for a prescription. Accident and Emergency is not the right place for these patients. Our message to you is to download our Choose Well app which will advise you to see your pharmacist, go to a walk in centre (Edgware, Cricklewood and Finchley), visit an Urgent Care Centre (Chase Farm) or call 111 when feeling unwell or have a minor injury.
“We have never seen our hospitals under such pressure before which is why it’s vital that everyone understands what they can do to protect our essential hospital services for their friends or relatives who really need them this winter. Please do not attend our hospitals with common winter illnesses, such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting.”
- The Choose Well app is free to download on Apple and Android devices through Apple Store and Google Play and helps people to decide what service they need and where to go to access it. More information can be found here http://www.barnetccg.nhs.uk/news/Get-appy-and-Choose-Well-Barnet.htm
- Click on to NHS Choices website – for trusted advice and information on how to look after yourself and your family. It covers thousands of illnesses and conditions: www.nhs.uk
- For more information contact Kathleen Kelly on 020 3688 1216 or Kathleen.Kelly@nelcsu.nhs.uk
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