Public urged to support local hospitals as health system experiences unprecedented demand

Urgent and emergency care

Health leaders have issued an urgent appeal for people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to play their part as local hospitals and health services experience unprecedented demand.
The local health and care system is seeing record numbers of people attending Accident and Emergency departments, calling NHS111, accessing GP services and calling 999.

The demand on the region’s services is being further pressured because of delays in discharging patients from hospital who are ready to go home.

Members of the public can help during this extremely busy time by only visiting Accident and Emergency departments or calling 999 in the case of a life-threatening emergency, being available to support relatives being discharged from hospitals, and practicing good self-care such as collecting prescriptions in advance and using services such as 111 online and local pharmacies.

Gill May, Chief Nurse at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board said:
“The health and care system in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is currently under intense pressure and experiencing a period of unprecedented demand.

All of the partners that make up our local system, including hospitals, ambulance services, GP surgeries and social care services are working closely together to address this situation but we desperately need the public’s help.

We are appealing to local people to help us get loved ones home from hospital, using the right health and care service when looking for support, practicing effective self-care, visiting pharmacies for help with minor ailments and following advice from NHS 111.”

Dr Jon Westbrook, Chief Medical Officer at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are asking the public to do all they can to support us at this extremely busy time.

“Before visiting our Urgent Treatment Centre or Emergency Department I would strongly urge people to consider all the local healthcare options available. “We see patients in order of clinical need, so if there are patients with more critical or life-threatening conditions you might be waiting a very long time to be seen.

“Local pharmacies are a great first choice, with many able to prescribe medicines. Swindon’s Children’s Clinic is open to 2–17-year-olds and of course your GP surgery.

“If you’re not sure what to do, NHS 111 can offer advice and find the best local service for you. NHS 111 is open 24/7, 365 days a year, online or by phoning 111. “It is an enormous help if patients who no-longer need to be in hospital are able to return home or continue their care in the community at the earliest opportunity and we value the support of local people in helping to make this happen.”

What people can do to help
– If your relative is due to be discharged from hospital and needs to be collected, please do so as early as possible. This will help our teams and free up a hospital bed for someone waiting to be admitted.
– Only call 999 or attend A&E departments for serious accidents and for life threatening emergencies.
– Where the situation is not life-threatening, alternative support will be available through NHS111 online or by calling 111
Pharmacies can offer over the counter advice and treat common illnesses such as colds, sore throats, stings and allergies.