Hospitals struggle with surge of holiday patients

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DOCTORS at Sheffield hospitals have been overrun during the half-term break - as people with minor injuries continue to needlessly go to accident and emergency.

More than 1,000 people attended the Northern General Hospital’s A&E unit in the first three days of this week.

The surge of patients comes as medics deal with high numbers of people with flu.

And it coincides with the end of the icy weather, when the hospitals saw a 43 per cent increase in emergency orthopaedic patients.

Richard Parker, deputy chief operating officer at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, has now asked for the public’s support to help medical staff cope.

He asked patients to only come to A&E in a true emergency and urged them to go to their GP or another NHS facility, instead of hospital.

Mr Parker said: “A culmination of factors including the half-term school holiday and an increase in diarrhoea and sickness and flu bugs in the community has meant we have been busier than usual.

“Our staff are working extremely hard and coping with the extra demand, but we are asking people to only use the A&E department if it is an emergency.

“GPs, pharmacists and the NHS Walk In Centre, on Broad Lane, are all able to provide advice and treatment for minor injuries or illnesses.”

He said there is little benefit in coming to A&E with a minor injury, because non-emergency patients will be forced to wait longer.

“In most cases you will be seen quicker at another service, because in A&E the priority will be given to patients with life threatening injuries and illnesses and emergency cases.”

n The Broad Lane NHS Walk in Centre sees patients from 8am to 10pm daily. For details, call 0114 241 2700.

n The Royal Hallamshire Hospital minor injuries unit is open daily from 8am to 8pm. For details, call 0114 271 2071.