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Don’t go to A&E unless absolutely necessary

13 January 2009

Following advice from the Health Protection Agency, NHS Kensington and Chelsea is asking patients not to go to the Emergency Department (ED) unless absolutely necessary.

Following advice from the Health Protection Agency, NHS Kensington and Chelsea is asking patients not to go to the Emergency Department (ED) unless absolutely necessary. During the winter months emergency departments and the London Ambulance Service are under increasing pressure, not only from winter specific illnesses such as Norovirus but also from members of the public falling and slipping on icy ground.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have seen a significant increase in ED attendances with figures for December up by over 600 additional patients compared to the same period in December 2007.

“Though we are managing the demand we are under pressure and would urge people who are feeling unwell and have non urgent conditions to contact their local GP practice—many of whom are now operating extended opening and closing times—NHS Direct, Walk-In Centre or Pharmacist for advice and treatment,” says Rona McKay, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s Lead ED Nurse.

High attendances at ED can also increase the chance of highly contagious illnesses such as Norovirus spreading through hospitals.

“We would ask that people visiting friends and relatives on the ward remain vigilant about using the alcohol hand rub gels at the entrance of each ward, before and after their visit,” says Ms McKay.