Ahead of the first Euro 2016 football matches this weekend, hospitals throughout Lancashire are urging people to drink and behave responsibly, and be mindful that A&E is for serious and life threatening emergencies only.
Domestic abuse, alcohol-related violent crime, and drink/drug driving all increase during major football tournaments, which mean more people than usual attend local hospital emergency departments.
The number of patients attending emergency departments across the country has been rising steadily in recent years and the local NHS Trusts including Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust who have seen more people in their A&E departments in the first few months of this year than ever before, are currently experiencing increased pressure across the system.
More patients attended the A&E at Royal Preston Hospital and the urgent care centre at Chorley Hospital in May than in any previous month and the A&E department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital is currently experiencing a surge in attendances which is expected to remain this way over the weekend and into next week.
The A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital is also experiencing high demand and a recent survey found that more than 50% of those attending could have avoided the A&E by attending the local walk in centres or even going to their pharmacist for advice first.
NHS Improvement said, “We’re monitoring the impact of the overnight closure at Chorley on other hospitals in the area. At present the impact is modest as only a few patients who would have been seen in Chorley are travelling to other hospitals.
“The trust is working hard to solve the problems it faces and we will continue to support it to ensure patients are provided with the best and safest possible care at all times.”
The pressure all our hospitals in the area are currently experiencing is a result of an overall increase in attendance across Lancashire, rather than a redistribution of Chorley patients.
Everyone can help our A&E departments see and treat those people who need urgent hospital care quickly by only coming to A&E if you have a serious or life threatening condition.
A range of other services are able to provide safe and appropriate care for many conditions and injuries:
The NHS 111 helpline for non-emergency medical help. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed by fully trained advisors and experienced clinicians.
Pharmacists are experts in providing medical information and advice, including coughs, colds, wheezing and minor ailments. You can just drop in to see your pharmacist and many have private consultation areas. They can also advise on any over the counter remedies available and, if you need specialist medical advice, can point you in the right direction.
Out of hours GP service: If you need non-emergency medical care outside of your GP opening hours, ring your GPs number for details of how to access help.
Visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk for more information on services in your local area