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Stay away plea to hospital patients

PUBLISHED: 20:00 26 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Hospital today pleaded for patients not to visit A&E unless it was really necessary.

Although the service is always there for people who need it, staff are rushed off their feet this week, and some cases could be dealt with by a GP or by phoning NHS Direct for advice, said a spokeswoman today.

IPSWICH Hospital today pleaded for patients not to visit A&E unless it was really necessary.

Although the service is always there for people who need it, staff are rushed off their feet this week, and some cases could be dealt with by a GP or by phoning NHS Direct for advice, said a spokeswoman today.

Jan Rowsell said the hospital was on red alert yesterday – meaning it only has a handful of beds free and operations will probably have be cancelled, and A&E is so busy that less urgent cases face a long wait.

The situation is likely to get worse as the weekend brings its usual influx of A&E attenders.

Jan said: "The hospital is really full to the brim.

"We are managing to cope with high numbers of people needing emergency and urgent admission, but we are going to struggle to bring in people for planned treatment and care.

"The situation is being reviewed daily, but at the moment we are absolutely full.

"We are here for everyone, 24-hours a day, and if people need to come to A&E, then please, please come.

"But because we are so full, we are asking people to help us.

"We are asking them to stop and think if there is any suitable alternative. Do they really need to come to A&E? Some cases could be dealt with either by phoning NHS Direct or their family doctor for example."

She said urgent operations were still be performed today, but warned: "We are really going to struggle to bring people in for planned treatment and care, especially with high numbers of admissions expected over the weekend.

"There is simply a huge pressure on the system, and staff are working flat out. They are doing a fantastic job."

Telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Weblink: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

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