A NORFOLK hospital has warned the public against attending A&E unless it is a “genuine emergency” because they are so busy.
James Paget University Hospital, in Great Yarmouth, have asked patients to avoid coming in unless absolutely necessary.
The hospital is seeing “large numbers” of patients attending when it is not an emergency, meaning longer wait times.
They are urging people to consider going to their local pharmacies for advice with minor issues, and to call 111 to help asses their medical needs.
A spokesman for the trust said: “We’re continuing to ask you not to come into our A&E unless it is a genuine emergency.
“In some cases we are seeing patients coming in when their local pharmacist may have been able to give advice and assistance.
“Our team have been working incredibly hard and, if you are in the waiting room, you will not be aware of how many patients with life-threatening emergencies they are dealing with behind the scenes.
“Please help us to help you – choose your health care wisely and please respect those who are dedicated to treating you, your friends and your family – and please share this message.”
They added that staff have also been abused by patients more and more in the past weeks, and are asking for “courtesy” towards them.
A statement went on: “Sadly, recently our staff have been dealing with increasing amounts of rude and abusive behaviour.
"Patients are dealt with on the basis of clinical need, so if you come in as a non-emergency you may face a wait.
“Please do not abuse our staff and please show them some courtesy – disrespectful behaviour towards the team that are working hard to help you and other patients is simply unacceptable.”
The hospital has not yet issued a rare “black alert” like Barnsley Hospital earlier this summer, after struggling to keep up with the demands for beds.
It was forced to declare OPEL 4 status – operational pressures escalation level – with over 300 patients turning up to the emergency department each day.
The system is used by the NHS to assess the stress, demand and pressure a hospital is under, with OPEL 4, also known as the 'black alert', being the highest.
It translates to when a hospital is "struggling or unable to deliver comprehensive care" and patient safety is at risk.
Barnsley medics were warned by bosses they faced a "pretty challenging" shortfall in beds.
It comes after hospital trusts across the country have been inundated with record numbers of patients.
Tens of thousands of Brits have had surgeries and treatments pushed back due to the pandemic ravaging the health system.
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