People urged to do their bit to protect the NHS as Coronavirus cases rise in our hospitals

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People across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are being urged to do their bit to protect their local NHS, now under intense pressure as rising numbers are hospitalised with Covid-19.

With many NHS staff themselves off sick or self-isolating, non-urgent hospital appointments and operations are being postponed to ensure that treatment for critical physical and mental health conditions can continue.

To help this effort, everyone is being asked to:

  • Stay at home as much as possible, follow Hands, Face, Space when outside, and use services appropriately.
  • This includes calling ‘111 First’ for any urgent but not life-threatening medical issues, and staying away from Emergency Departments with minor illnesses or injuries.
  • Be ready to support family and loved ones home as soon as they are medically fit to leave hospital.

Dr Geeta Iyer, a local GP and clinical lead at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“Hundreds of people, young and old, are now severely unwell with Covid-19 in our local hospitals wards and intensive care units – and this is only likely to worsen until the full effects of the lockdown kick in.

“Like the rest of the country, our services and staff are now under intense strain and across our entire health and care system we’re doing everything we can to keep caring for those with the most urgent and critical conditions.

“Just this week, senior nursing staff have begun triaging people arriving at our Emergency Departments, and redirecting them to alternatives such as minor injuries units and GP practices where those are more appropriate.

“Because of the rigorous infection control measures now in place, we have less space in our hospitals than we did before. Unless it’s a serious or life-threatening situation, anyone thinking of visiting the Emergency Department should click or call 111 First – we have clinical staff on-hand to ensure you get to the most appropriate urgent care service first time.

“Our message to the local population is clear: if you are in need of care, the NHS is here for you – but we all have a responsibility to protect it by using services appropriately and doing our bit to reduce transmission of the virus.”

The NHS, community services and social care services are also working together to rapidly discharge patients safely from hospitals, supported by an innovative ‘Covid Virtual Ward’ scheme.

People with Covid-19 that fall into high-risk groups are being given devices to monitor their blood oxygen levels from home. The scheme launched in December and is currently deploying up to 3,000 devices to local people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.