NHS urge public not to use A&E until after festive season

STOCK UP ON PAINKILLERS FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON SAY NHS BOSSES

In order to help NHS hospitals cope with the pressure at the busiest time of the year, people have been asked to think twice before submitting themselves into their local A&E department.   NHS bosses in England are worried that the way Christmas and New Year falls this year could lead to a surge in demand after the long weekends.

They have been urging people to stock up on painkillers and cough syrups to deal with minor ailments.

Patients should also look to use alternatives to A&E such as the NHS 111 phone line and pharmacies if possible.

Long weekends tend to result in a peak in demand for emergency services on the first working day back.  It is not known exactly why this is although experts suggest as people are unable to access community services such as GPs they end up struggling through before seeking help on the first working day back.

Prof Keith Willet, of NHS England, said the health service was expecting to see a "surge in the days following Christmas and New Year".

"Younger fitter people can help our hard-working NHS doctors and nurses by only attending if it's absolutely necessary," he added.

He also urged people to keep an eye on elderly or frail friends, neighbours and relatives.

Posted on Tuesday Dec 29