With a busy weekend of New Year celebrations just around the corner, people are being asked to use the most appropriate healthcare service for their needs to ensure Walsall’s Emergency Department is kept free for those with life-threatening or serious conditions.
Philip Thomas-Hands, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, said staff in the Manor Hospital and in the community were working with partners to avoid people being unnecessarily admitted and to help patients to be discharged as promptly as possible.
“While we are doing all we can, we are extremely busy at this time of year as are Emergency Departments up and down the country,” he said.
“Emergency admissions become more serious during the winter period with patients requiring longer hospital stays. This slows down our ability to move patients through the system to free-up beds for those arriving daily in the ED. We are urging people to avoid ED unless they have life-threatening or serious conditions so that our teams can prioritise those most in need as quickly as possible. They can get expert health advice from a range of other sources and I’d like to thank those who are helping us by doing just that rather than just turning up in ED.
“I would also like to thank all of our staff in the hospital and in the community who are working so hard to support our patients, their families and carers over this holiday period and beyond.”
People should get expert health advice by telephoning NHS 111 speaking to their local pharmacist, or contacting their own GP practice. Extra GP appointments are being made available and details are available via Walsall CCG’s website https://walsallccg.nhs.uk/stay-well-walsall/extra-gp-appointments
Walsall Healthcare has a Rapid Response Service that deals with referrals for patients who have conditions such as a Urinary Tract Infection, chest infection, dehydration and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) . The team will respond within two hours and set up multi-disciplinary care as appropriate, avoiding a hospital visit. This service can be accessed via a GP (in or out of hours), the Ambulance Service or NHS 111.
And Walsall has two urgent care centres, run by Primecare, for people with non life-threatening illnesses. The urgent care centre at Saddlers Shopping Centre, Bridgeman Street, is open 8am-8pm every day and the urgent care centre at the Manor Hospital is open from 7am-midnight every day.
People who have experienced very recent sickness and diarrhoea are also being reminded to stay away from hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on infections to vulnerable patients.
Mr Amir Khan, Medical Director and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “If people have sickness and diarrhoea, or they have recently experienced these symptoms, we are reminding them to stay away. This is because people may still infect others up to three days after their own symptoms have stopped.
“Again, anyone worried about these types of symptoms should contact their Pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 helpline by telephone, rather than just going to the Emergency Department or health centre.”