A&E staff seeing record numbers of patients with minor complaints

Stories of A&E departments under pressure have become commonplace during the winter months but staff at Hull Royal Infirmary have seen record numbers of patients in the first week of July.

Over 500 people attended Hull Royal Infirmary’s A&E on Monday 2nd July, many with illnesses and conditions that should have been seen and treated at their local urgent care centre, GP, pharmacy or minor injuries unit. Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust which manages Hull Royal Infirmary is urging people to stay away from A&E unless they have a serious illness or emergency medical condition and warning that the increase in minor attendances is putting lives at risk.

In February, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals reported that people had been turning up at Hull Royal Infirmary’s A&E department to ask emergency staff to remove acrylic nails, provide second opinions and manage chronic problems already under the care of specialist team. Others have turned up in the department with simple viral stomach upsets, running the risk of spreading the bug throughout the hospital. We would advise these patients to take rehydration supplements and anti-diarrhoeal available from any pharmacy.

Dr Jacquie Smithson, medical director for medicine at the trust, said: “We are seeing far too many people in our A&E department who should have been seen and treated elsewhere. The staff working in our emergency department must be free to deal with people facing life-threatening emergencies. By attending A&E with complaints that could be seen outside of hospital it is diverting our medical teams away from patients who require more urgent care and treatment.

“We are trying our best to cope with the demand we have seen this week and we are asking for the public’s help to ensure our staff are there to help those most in need of our attention by using alternative services if they do not have a medical emergency.”

The Trust launched an advertising campaign “A&E: It’s Serious Stuff” to urge the public to use alternative health services such as their GP, pharmacies, minor injuries units and the urgent care centres at Bransholme, Beverley, Bridlington and Goole.