People coming to Hull Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department must not bring anyone with them as hospital staff attempt to protect the public from Covid-19.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is appealing to the public to come alone if they need to attend the Emergency Department (ED).
More than 300 people a day have been attending ED recently, many of them bringing friends or family members which has made social distancing in the department extremely difficult.
In a direct appeal to people, Chief Operating Officer Teresa Cope said: “If you are coming to our Emergency Department, please come alone.
“We’ve changed our department so we can isolate people with signs of Covid-19 but that means we have less space for those with less serious illnesses and injuries.
“We understand people want someone with them when they are unwell or hurt but we cannot follow social distancing if too many people come into our department.
“People accept they have to travel alone in ambulances when they are brought to hospital for emergency treatment and we are now extending that to our department.”
The patients-only rule is being introduced as the trust experiences a surge in attendances, with around 330 people attending each day compared to fewer than 200 at the height of the lockdown.
Almost four in ten have minor or less serious illnesses and injuries who could have gone to Urgent Treatment Centres, pharmacies, GP surgeries or the walk-in GP surgery at Wilberforce Health Centre.
Some have been attending with minor skin complaints or verrucas or long-standing complaints like coughs which should be treated by a GP in the first instance. Others have been attending with minor injuries like small cuts or sprains which could be treated by fully trained emergency staff at Urgent Treatment Centres at Bransholme, Beverley, Bridlington or Goole.
Teresa Cope said special provision would be made for children, those with additional needs or carers who required additional support while attending the department during Covid-19.
She said: “We accept some people will require support when they come to us for help, from those with learning difficulties, children or those with carers, but we need everyone else to help us by coming alone.
“If you need someone to bring you to hospital, make arrangements to call them when it’s time to collect you. Do not ask them to come into the department with you.
“Although the lockdown might be easing for the public, Hull Royal infirmary remains on the frontline and we must do all we can to keep everyone safe, including our staff.
“We can no longer have people in our department who does not need to be there.”
[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]