Clinical teams working hard across hospitals and community services in Lancashire and South Cumbria are asking for the support of the local communities as we head towards the Jubilee Bank Holiday.
The extended bank holiday will see more people come together; and whilst this is a thing to be celebrated after the last two years, it does have the potential to lead to more injuries and pressure on local NHS services.
To help ensure that hospital teams are able to care for those that need urgent medical care, the public is urged to only attend an Emergency Department (ED) if it is a serious or life-threatening accident or emergency.
If it isn’t a serious or life-threatening accident or emergency, people should visit NHS111 online for 24/7 expert advice on the right healthcare service for their needs.
Dr Gerry Skailes, Medical Director, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “it is important to highlight that our emergency departments are very much open to the public over the Bank Holiday weekend, however we often see patients arriving with a range of non-urgent conditions which puts extra pressure on staff and causes longer waits for everyone.
“It is incredibly important to make sure that our ED teams are able to see and treat patients who really do need life-saving care, and we hope that our local communities can support this by only attending an ED if they really need to.
“We appreciate that accessing healthcare services can seem difficult - especially if you do not know which service is best for your situation - but that doesn’t mean that everyone should attend an emergency department.
““If you need urgent medical help, and don’t know which service is best for you, NHS111 online is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will ask questions about your symptoms so you get the help you need by the appropriate service.”
Another way in which local communities can help is to support the timely discharge of friends and loved ones from hospital. Due to the pressures facing local hospital and social care services, patients can be waiting some time to be discharged home when they are medically fit to leave hospital. Some of the ways that family and friends can help include:
- Collecting a loved one from hospital at the earliest opportunity when they are ready to be discharged
- Supporting with arranging food and any other relevant shopping in advance so it is ready for when the patient gets home
- Being available for any discharge meetings that involve families so that planning can be done with everyone’s input
- Providing basic care and support in the home for loved ones when safe to do so until a social care package can be put into place
Bridget Lees, Executive Chief Nurse, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Services across local hospitals and social care remain under significant pressure; and we expect that with a long bank holiday, demand for our services will increase further.
“To ensure we can help those that really need our help, we are asking for the support of the local communities in helping us to make sure we have capacity in our hospitals to look after those who need the care of our hospital teams.
“We know that no-one wants their loved one to be in hospital any longer than they need to be so if you are able to help by collecting your friend or family member rather than have them wait for hospital transport or by doing a bit of shopping so they have the essentials ready at home; we would really appreciate it. Not only will this mean your loved one can celebrate the Jubilee from the comfort of their own home but it also means that we can free up the bed earlier to allow us to use it for another patient who is unwell and needs hospital care.”
Other ways you can help the NHS include:
- Taking care when celebrating this Jubilee Bank Holiday - stay safe, and limit the intake of alcohol and food
- If the weather is warm, stay well hydrated and use appropriate sun screen
- Planning ahead by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance and ensuring a well-stocked medicine cupboard
- Visiting a pharmacy if you need help or advice and over-the-counter medicines on a common ailment. Selected pharmacies will be open throughout the weekend
- Staying at home if you suspect you have COVID-19
- Remembering to wear a face mask and use handwashing and alcohol gel facilities if visiting any healthcare setting
- Keeping your hospital, clinic or GP appointment if you have one. If you can’t make it, contact the provider to let them know so the appointment can be offered to others
For more information about the best NHS service for your needs, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/.