The Island’s healthcare system is under sustained pressure and Islanders are being asked to help by making sure they only use hospital services if they really need to, and consider making use of the 111 non-emergency helpline.
Unusually for this time of year, a high number of very poorly patients have needed hospital care in recent days with a peak in demand yesterday (Monday) when 135 patients were seen in the Emergency Department within ten hours. Normally, the hospital would expect around 125 patients to attend its Emergency Department within a 24-hour period.
Additional nursing and medical staff are being put in place to cover the increase in demand but, unfortunately, a small number of planned routine operations have been cancelled for today (Tuesday). The situation has not affected outpatient appointments, and all those due to attend should still come to St Mary’s Hospital unless they have been contacted directly by a member of staff.
Alan Sheward, Executive Director of Nursing and Workforce at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said:
“We have been working closely with patients families, friends and partnership organisations to ensure patients are cared for in the most appropriate setting, either in the community or at home. We are grateful for continued support on this, as it means that patients will not remain in hospital unnecessarily. It will also ensure the best quality of care to those patients in most need of hospital treatment.”
Across the South the number of people going to Emergency Departments, dialing 999 and visiting their GP is continuing to rise year after year, and a significant proportion of these visits are for common complaints that are without the need for medical intervention. People are encouraged to take more care with their health where possible by either asking their local pharmacy staff for advice, looking for advice on line (www.nhs.uk) or self treating using some basic medicine cabinet essentials.
GPs should be visited if you have concerns about a condition that will not go away, or is getting worse. It is important to visit your GP if you have a recurring condition that is affecting your ability to function on a day to day basis.
Common complaints which can be treated at home with advice from the pharmacist include:
- Skin conditions, such as mild acne and mild eczema
- Coughs and colds including nasal congestion and sore throat
- Minor cuts and bruises
- Constipation and haemorrhoids (piles)
- Hay fever and allergies
- Aches, pains, such as headaches, earaches and backaches
- Indigestion, diarrhoea and threadworms
- Period pain and thrush
- Warts and verrucas, mouth ulcer and cold sores
- Athletes foot
- Nappy rash and teething
The 111 service, which is available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, should be called if medical help is needed fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency. 111 is free to call from landlines and mobiles and is staffed by a team of fully trained call advisers on the Island, supported by nurses, paramedics and doctors, who are on hand to assess callers’ needs and ensure they receive the right service as quickly as possible. It guides patients to a locally available service or provides appropriate advice and information.