The Northamptonshire acute and emergency healthcare system is still under strain going into 2017.
The trend for attendances to A&E - as well as the Corby Urgent Care Centre - is continuing to increase. This sustained increase is putting significant pressure on the staff and their ability to see non-urgent patients within required timeframes.
GPs are also feeling under pressure with large numbers of patients requesting appointments.
Dr Emma Clancy, a Clinical Executive Director at Nene CCG and a GP at St Luke’s Primary Care Centre said: “What we are experiencing in Northamptonshire is reflective of the national picture. All healthcare services are busier than ever. However, in Northamptonshire, our staff are struggling to meet the increasing demands that we are seeing.
“We can all help to take the pressure off the emergency services and A&E departments (who should only see patients with life-threatening conditions), by choosing wisely when and where we access healthcare."
Here are some alternative services:
Self-care. Make sure that your prescriptions are up to date and you have enough to last. If you are due to run out, renew your prescription. A pharmacist can help you with this.
Self-care. Over the counter remedies are available, such as decongestants which may help with common colds. Make sure that you have some at home so you are able to take some at the first sign of illness. A pharmacist can help you choose what may be best for you.
Pharmacists can give advice to those who are suffering from minor ailments such as flu and bad colds, as well as earache and skin rashes. Best of all, you don’t need an appointment.
NHS 111 is a non-emergency number and it’s free. You can speak with a trained advisor, who is supported by a healthcare professional, and they will direct you to where the best medical care is for your condition.
Dr Clancy added: "It is more important than ever, that patients and their families or carers, seek help when it is first needed. If you are within a vulnerable group like the elderly or particularly during cold weather, those with respiratory conditions; please see your GP as soon as you begin to feel unwell.”