Hospital bosses are pleading for people to use other healthcare sevices after delayed discharges and a lack of beds led to a queue of 42 patients at Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s A&E department.
Waiting times have risen to two hours and patients from Kendal and Grange who would normally be transferred to RLI A&E are being diverted to Furness General Hospital in Barrow until 4.30pm this afternoon.
Aaron Cummins, deputy chief executive for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Once again we find ourselves experiencing increased pressure in our A&E department at the RLI.
“This is due mostly to patients that need to be admitted to our wards from A&E, however, due to delayed discharges and lack of bed availability, we are having to keep those patients in A&E.
“We are calling on the public to help us. We do occasionally experience sudden increases in attendance which can impact on the time for patients to be seen, treated and either discharged or admitted.
“At the moment, patients are likely to experience long waiting times, while those who need urgent treatment are seen first.
“Please help us make sure our staff are free to treat those most in need, such as those who have a serious illness or injury.
“If you do attend, please be patient with staff who are doing their best in difficult circumstances.
“While we will see and treat all patients who attend, there are those who could be better treated elsewhere.
“We know it can be difficult when someone is unwell so if you aren’t sure whether or not to attend the A&E, please ring the NHS advice line on 111 who are trained to help.
“If you have a minor illness or injury that needs attention, you can visit your nearest pharmacist, Primary Care Assessment Centre, or speak to your GP.”
An emergency is a serious or life-threatening injury and condition, such as a suspected heart attack, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, chest pain, head injuries or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.
If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, then 999 should be called.
Details of pharmacy opening times, as well as advice on caring for yourself and your family at home, are available at www.nhs.uk/111.