People warned to avoid 'exceptionally busy' A&E departments

Dr Govindan Raghuraman, deputy mdeical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Picture: QEH

Dr Govindan Raghuraman, deputy mdeical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Picture: QEH - Credit: Archant

Norfolk and Waveney's chief nurse has urged people to stay away from the region's accident and emergency departments unless absolutely necessary - because they are "exceptionally busy".

In a video posted to the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) social media accounts, chief nurse Cath Byford described the strain currently being placed on the departments at all three of the region's main hospitals.

And in the emotional plea she urged people to think carefully about the type of medical attention they need and only attend if absolutely necessary.

She said: "Our emergency departments are really very busy at the moment and are caring for some very sick patients and we know some should and could be treated elsewhere.

"Any time of the day, any day of the week, help and advice is available and it is really important we use the NHS wisely.

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"If your condition is not life-threatening there are a range of options for you to consider."

She urged people to make use of services such as the 111 phone line or online or visiting either their local pharmacies or walk-in centres before turning to A&E if the matter is desperate.

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She added: "Please do help us help you. Use the NHS wisely and that will assure them they are able to treat those people with life-threatening concerns or conditions in a much more timely way."

A similar message was delivered by Govindan Raghuraman, deputy medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, in a video recorded in the hospitals emergency department itself.

He said: "This is a fervent appeal to all the patients who are currently unwell and seeking access to the hospital or other healthcare access.

"Our plea is to only come to the hospital if there is a need for it. There are other alternate access available through your GPS or your 111 calls and urgent health centres."

Earlier this week, the QEH also tightened visitor restrictions following a "sharp increase" in the number of Covid patients it was treating. 

As of Friday there were 27 patients in the hospital who had tested positive for the virus.

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