The public are being asked to consider using other healthcare services rather than Accident and Emergency (A&E), as the A&E departments at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Furness General Hospital (FGH) face exceptional pressure today (Sunday 20 November).
As of 9.30am this morning, there were already nearly 30 patients waiting in the Emergency Department at the RLI, with some patients having to wait five and a half hour to be assessed.
At FGH, there is also significant pressure with 11 patients waiting in the Emergency Department, with some patients having to wait two to three hours to be assessed.
John Taylor, Director of Strategy, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Once again we find ourselves experiencing increased pressure in both our A&E departments.
“Unfortunately, due to the pressure we are facing this weekend, we are keeping patients in our A&E departments longer than we would like to. This is mostly due to patients waiting to be admitted to our wards, and as a consequence we are having to keep many patients in A&E.
“Therefore, we are calling on the public to help us by only coming to our A&Es if they really have to. This will help our staff to be free to treat those most in need, such as those who have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury.
“If you do attend one of our A&Es, please be patient with staff who are doing their best in difficult circumstances. At the moment, patients are likely to experience long waiting times, whilst our staff see and treat those who need urgent medical attention.
“Whilst we will see and treat all patients who attend, there are those who could be better treated elsewhere. We know it can be difficult when someone is unwell so if you aren’t sure whether or not to attend the A&E, please ring the NHS advice line on 111 who are trained to help. If you have a minor illness or injury that needs attention, you can visit your nearest pharmacist, Primary Care Assessment Centre, or speak to your GP.”
An emergency is a serious or life-threatening injury and condition, such as a suspected heart attack, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, chest pain, head injuries or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, then 999 should be called.
More information on the NHS services available to help you can be found at: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/our-services/think-why-e-and/.
The Trust is also asking any of its staff who are able to come into work today to support patients awaiting admission or discharge home, to contact the Clinical Site Manager at either the RLI or FGH.