Stay away from hospital if you don't need to be there You are here: Home » News Detail
30th December 2010
Don't go to A+E unless absolutely necessary.
Stay away from hospital if you don't need to be there. That's the message from NHS Northamptonshire as our general hospitals in Kettering and Northampton and the local ambulance service continue to feel the effects of increased demand on our services over the festive period.
A rise in the number of cases of flu over the Christmas period saw both Nenedoc (the GP Out of Hours Service) and A+E departments experiencing very high levels of demand from patients, with 50% more people using the Out of Hours service compared to this time last year.
Colds and flu
For the vast majority of people, cold and flu are best treated through self-care with advice from a pharmacist. Click here for more information about self-care. However, our hospitals are reporting increasing numbers of patients with suspected or confirmed H1N1 (swine) flu. If you think you may have this, you can check your symptoms on the NHS website.
A minority of patients, those most -at risk from the flu virus, for example people aged over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, are advised to get their seasonal flu jabs as soon as possible in the New Year. Click here for further details on the flu vaccination, or contact your local GP surgery.
Dr Mark Barrowclough, a GP and Chair of Nenedoc, said: "There are very high levels of seasonal flu at the moment which is adding to pressure on our services. For most people, seasonal flu is unpleasant but not serious and they recover within a week without needing to visit a GP, call Out of Hours or visit hospital.
"People with a heavy cold who want advice from a health professional should call NHS Direct in the first instance, available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, on 0845 4647 or click here rather than visiting A+E or contacting Out of Hours."
Minor injuries and minor illnesses
In addition, don't forget there are a number of alternatives to A+E if you have minor injuries. Click here for full details, but here is some general information and contact details:
In Corby, the Minor Injuries Unit (on the Willowbrook Health Complex, Cottingham Road) is open from 8am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays, and from 9am to 6pm on Bank Holidays and weekends. Call 01536 493916 for further details.
In Northampton, the Minor Illness and Minor Injury Unit (MIaMI, next to Northampton General Hospital) is open Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 6.30pm. Call 01604 745050 for more information.
Dr Barrowclough added that a number of patients were contacting Out of Hours regarding getting repeat prescriptions, but this is not appropriate, and patients should act now while their GP practices are open to get their repeat prescriptions sorted for the New Year.
Dr Barrowclough said: "We had a number of people contacting the service over the festive break asking for help getting a repeat prescription, which adds unnecessary pressure to an already busy service and prevents us treating those patients who need medical help more quickly. Please act now to get any repeat prescriptions over the New Year holiday period."
Which service is right for you - make sure you choose well
If you are not sure which service is right for you and you want further information about the options available, click on our Choose Well website.
Finally, click here for information regarding the opening times of local health services over the New Year bank holiday. NHS Northamptonshire wishes all of our patients a happy and healthy new year.