Urgent plea to patients with minor illnesses to consider alternatives to attending hospital

University Hospital in Coventry is exceptionally busy with patients experiencing unprecedented waits in the Emergency Department.

The public are now being asked to consider alternatives rather than attend A&E. If people need medical help fast but it’s not life threatening or they’re not sure where to go, they should consider accessing GPs, pharmacists, the Walk-in centre or calling 111. 111 will assess you and direct you to the best placed service in your area. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Due to the serious situation, a series of additional difficult decisions have been made including:

• Cancelling all planned surgery and outpatient clinics for today (Wednesday) and tomorrow morning (Thursday) – patients will be contacted if their appointments or surgery are taking place. If people have not been contacted, they should assume their clinics are not taking place and will be rearranged.
• Stopping ‘walk in’ blood tests in the outpatient department at University Hospital so they can be used in ward areas instead of outpatients. If people need unplanned blood tests, please click here: /for-patients-and-visitors/blood-tests-x-rays

Chief Executive Officer, Andy Hardy said: “The hospital is currently experiencing a high amount of very sick patients which is putting the hospital under a considerable amount of pressure.

“We saw over 500 people in our A&E yesterday and of these dozens waited more than four hours. Since midnight many others have waited longer than four hours and we currently have more than 60 in the department.

“There are many additional patients in the Trust who don’t need to be in hospital, but there are no spaces in the community for them either due to the pressure being seen across the whole system.

“At this exceptional time we need the support of our community – please consider using NHS 111, GPs, Pharmacists or walk in centres before coming to ED.”

If patients are unsure of what services are in their local area, they can search on www.nhs.uk.