Doctors are concerned that because of the current COVID-19 outbreak people are waiting too long before seeking help when they have symptoms associated with life-threatening conditions like heart attack, sepsis and stroke.
They worry this is because people are worried about contracting the virus or that they do not want to bother the busy hospital teams but Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the city’s GPs have urged people not to put off seeking help in an emergency or leave symptoms unchecked.
Dr Jennifer Hill, medical director for operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said they had seen worrying reductions in the number of people presenting with chest pains and strokes.
She said: “This is a trend which is being mirrored nationally and we are urging anyone who has symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, weakness in the arm, face droop or slurred speech to act early and not be put off because of COVID-19.
“We would rather people who have serious symptoms take action straight away to allow us to provide the right treatment in a timely way and prevent full-blown life-threatening scenarios like a severe stroke, sepsis or heart attack.
“People do not need to be worried about adding to our workload or being at increased risk of contracting Coronavirus. We are open for urgent care and have taken all the appropriate precautions to do that as safely as possible.”
Dr Terry Hudsen, GP and chair at NHS Sheffield CCG, said face-to-face appointments were still being offered but that services were being delivered by telephone or video conference where possible.
He said: “If you or a loved one needs medical help for any reason and think you need to see a GP or nurse, telephone your practice on the usual number.
“Please do not turn up at a GP surgery without an appointment. For all emergency health care needs, call 999.”