January 3, 2023

West Yorkshire people and communities reminded to choose wisely when needing NHS services

Exterior image of Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield
Pinderfields Hospital

Like other parts of the country, West Yorkshire health and care services remain under significant pressure due to the number of people attending A&E, calling NHS111, accessing GPs, community and mental health services and calling 999 over the festive period. The increase in the number of people seeking help, is alongside the challenges of a difficult winter.

The number of people attending A&E departments with minor conditions, such as flu like symptoms and some respiratory illness continues to remain high, despite the support from other services, including pharmacies, NHS 111, GPs and walk-in services. All services remain extremely busy with many hospital patients being cared for in extra capacity beds, placing additional demands on hard working staff.

Patients needing admission to hospital are experiencing long delays and people with less serious conditions who attend A&E will face long waits to be seen or may be redirected to other services as staff prioritise people with life-threatening and very serious illness or injuries. Primary care, for example GPs and walk-in services are also dealing with very high levels of demand and people will experience delays or may be advised to self-care if they do not need expert healthcare. GPs are also prioritising urgent and same day care.

Dr James Thomas, Medical Director for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: “We currently have high numbers of people coming to A&E with flu-like symptoms. Please be aware that flu symptoms – cough, fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles – can hit suddenly and severely but most people don’t need hospital care or antibiotics.

Self-care with rest and sleep, keeping warm, drinking plenty of fluids and taking paracetamol appropriately will help. Signs you need medical attention urgently with flu are if you also have sudden or increasing chest pain, difficulty breathing, especially at rest, or if you start coughing up blood. People can also help their local NHS services by finding out if they’re eligible for their COVID-19 booster and flu vaccines as this importantly helps keep people well”.

If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, it’s likely you can also get the coronavirus (COVID-19) seasonal booster. Visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations for more information.

It’s vitally important that people who need urgent medical care for a life-threatening illness or injury do seek help without delay. Care for life threatening or serious illness/injury will be prioritised. This may lead to some planned surgery being rescheduled. People will be notified directly if their treatment or appointment needs to be rearranged.

If something’s not right and you know it’s not life-threatening, you can visit www.111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 for advice if you don’t have access to the internet.

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