News from our partners: Leaders ask ‘help us help you’ as health and care services face extreme pressure
News from our partners NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin
Health and care services across Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin, are under extreme pressure. Health and care leaders are urging people to do their bit to help support services by choosing the best service for their needs if they are ill or injured over the busy festive period.
Due to extremely high demand across health and care services, the health and care system in Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin, has declared a critical incident. Rising COVID-19 case numbers, high demand for services and ongoing challenges with workforce sickness are all contributing to pressure on the system.
As a result, the health and care system can take additional steps to prioritise and maintain safe services for patients and manage emergency care. Patients with the highest level of need will be prioritised: this could mean non-urgent services are postponed and routine operations are rescheduled. Cancer and other critical operations will continue to be prioritised. If you are not contacted directly about an operation being postponed, please continue to attend your appointment as usual.
Alison Bussey, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:-
“This critical incident is an indication of the serious pressure the system is facing. We regret that it has been necessary to take this step, but it is important that we focus on patients needing urgent and emergency care as a priority.
“We are appealing to our community to only come to A&E for life threatening conditions and injuries. We urge you not to attend A&E unless it’s an emergency: NHS 111 online can help you find where to get help and support.
“Minor Injury Units, such as the ones located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch, can help give advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries such as sprains and strains.
“If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home but is waiting to be discharged with homecare and community health support, you may be able to help them get home quicker if you and your family can support them at home.
“We are working extremely hard to ensure people are kept safe, and would like to reassure the public that despite the challenges faced, our services remain open for anyone who needs them. Please help us to help you and those you love.”
Here’s how you can help:
- Please consider whether you do need to attend an emergency department or call 999. If it’s not a life-threatening emergency there are other places to seek help.
- Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
- Minor Injury Units (MIUs) are there to help with injuries that need attention urgently but are not critical or life threatening. There are four MIUs in the county, open 8am to 8pm, located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch. For more information visit: Community hospitals and health centres in Shropshire
- Please pick up friends or relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to be discharged and the hospital have contacted you. This frees up a bed for other patients who need it.
- Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as upset stomachs, earache, skin rashes and for relief of coughs and colds. Find a pharmacy near you: Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu if you are eligible. Vaccination will protect not only yourself but others around you.
- Stay at home, and particularly don’t visit hospitals, if you have symptoms of an infectious illness such as COVID-19, flu or norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug).
- For concerns about Strep A, please see the latest guidance at www.nhs.uk/conditions/strep-a/
- Mental health crisis helpline – urgent mental health support is available 24/7 on 0808 196 4501.