Festive season putting strain on St Peter's Hospital A&E

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By mattcollison | Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 09:58

STRAIN on the Accident and Emergency ward at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals has led to a call to think first before attending.

As the weather gets colder, more people are coming to hospital with A&E attendances about 20 per cent higher than normal averages, putting pressure on services. However over the last year, many people who attended A&E could have been treated more appropriately elsewhere.

Between June 2011 and May 2012 over one fifth of patients who attended A&E did not require treatment and were sent home with self-care advice, suggesting they had a relatively minor illness or complaint.

Medical director David Fluck said: "The last three days have been extremely busy in our A&E department and this is putting pressure on all of our hospital services. 

"We are really encouraging people to think if they could use other local services instead and the A&E department should only be used when people have suffered trauma, had an accident or have developed a serious illness. "Overall, we believe around 18 per cent of our patients who come to A&E could be treated more appropriately by their GP surgery, local walk-in centre, pharmacy or NHS Direct.

"We would also like to ask people to help us prevent the introduction and spread of norovirus, also known as the 'winter vomiting bug', which can add to the pressures we face in the winter months. We do not currently have norovirus at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals and would like to keep our wards free of it by asking any visitors and members of staff with diarrhoea and vomiting to stay away for 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped."

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