Help us to help you by choosing the right service

Doctors in Leeds are urging people to choose the best service for their needs if they are feeling unwell or have a minor injury and to think carefully before going to the Emergency Department (A&E).

The Emergency Departments at both Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and St James’s Hospital are currently extremely busy and are seeing record numbers of patients. The number of patients attending has increased by nearly 20% which is an additional 80 patients every day. There are also 125 patients with Covid-19 in hospital in Leeds which is the equivalent to 5 full wards. This increased demand is also mirrored across other vital health and care providers in Leeds, including GP surgeries, NHS Walk In Centres and Urgent Treatment Centres.

“Over the last few months, the number of patients seeking treatment at our emergency departments has increased considerably” explains Dr Sarah Davey, Clinical Director for Urgent Care.  “The most urgent and life-threatening cases take priority, which means that unfortunately people coming in with less urgent issues are experiencing longer waiting times and could be treated elsewhere.

“We’re asking everyone to think carefully before coming to our Emergency Departments and to check with NHS 111 before attending, as they’ll be able to advise where you need to go to get the right care. NHS 111 can direct you to the right service and help you make an appointment. These include urgent treatment centres or minor injuries units, where you can be diagnosed and treated for things like cuts, sprains, simple broken bones, infections and fevers, minor burns and other minor injuries. This will help free up capacity for those who really need emergency care.

Dr Davey continued: “We’re urging the public to remember that hospital emergency departments are for life or limb emergencies, such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant head injuries or complex fractures.”

Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “As well as 111, you can check any symptoms and find out what to do and when to get help using the NHS website – nhs.uk. Downloading the NHS App also enables you to get health advice, book or change appointments, order repeat prescriptions, find your NHS number or get the latest advice about coronavirus and get your COVID vaccination pass.

“If you’ve already tried these other options, or they are not suitable, and you need medical help, GP practices are still here for you. As well as helping deliver the largest ever flu and COVID vaccination programmes, practices have continued to provide routine and urgent medical care for patients, doing so in a safe way, whilst protecting staff and patients from the virus.

“For all patients needing medical care, practices continue to provide it in the most clinically appropriate way, through a combination of telephone, online and face to face appointments. By doing so, they can ensure even more patients get the care they need. As well as making appointments with doctors and nurses, reception teams can also book you in with physiotherapists, pharmacists, mental health specialists and other healthcare professionals so please help us make sure you see the right person by giving as much information as possible about your condition.”

“However, please be aware that GP practices are seeing significantly more patients than we were before the pandemic as people are coming to us with more complex and long-standing concerns. This means our phone lines are extremely busy. We understand that this can be frustrating but please be patient.

“Staff across the NHS are working very hard to deal with everyone but please help us to help you by choosing the right service and please be kind.”

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Issued by the communications team at NHS Leeds CCG. You can contact the team at leedsccg.comms@nhs.net