People will be turned away from Hull Royal Infirmary this week if they show up at A&E with minor injuries and illnesses, to protect services for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is once again seeing an increase in people turning up at its Emergency Department when they could go elsewhere.
While attendances fell to under 200 at the start of the lockdown, attendances climbed to 290 again last week.
Chief Operating Officer Teresa Cope said: “We have had a long-standing problem with people using Hull Royal’s Emergency Department for minor health complaints which are not serious, let alone an emergency or life-threatening.
“Now, more than ever, we need people to use alternatives like the Urgent Treatment Centres, pharmacies and the GP walk-in service at Wilberforce Health Centre so our limited resources and staff are used for the people who need us most, such as those with breathing difficulties caused by the virus, and those having heart attacks and strokes.
“We appreciate the amazing support people are showing the NHS but the best way to help us is to only come to A&E with genuine emergencies.
“If you help us spread the word and make sure all your family and friends do the same, we’ll have a better chance of coping with the outbreak.”
In the past fortnight, frontline staff have been asked to see people with skin complaints like verrucas, minor sprains and long-standing complaints which would be treated best by a GP, pharmacist or Urgent Treatment Centre.
This week, anyone who comes to Hull Royal will be triaged by a senior nurse before they are allowed into the Emergency Department. Anyone coming to the hospital with a problem which is not a genuine emergency will be diverted to another service in the city.
Mrs Cope said: “Most people know if their problem is a serious or not yet many still choose to come to our Emergency Department. We don’t know if that’s because they think they’ll be seen more quickly or by a more experienced practitioner but neither is true.
“You’re likely to be seen far more quickly if you go elsewhere and the staff at Urgent Treatment Centres or the walk-in centres are highly experienced.
“If you come to here with a minor illness or injury, you will have a wasted journey as we do not have the resources or time to spend with anything which is not a genuine emergency.”
If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get online, call 111. UTCs can treat minor ailments such as cuts, burns and suspected fractures, with no appointment necessary. Find out more about East Riding UTCs here and Hull UTCs here.
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]