CEO of Preston and Chorley hospitals urges patients to help reduce waiting times by choosing carefully whether to attend A&E

Patience and better treatment of Accident and Emergency staff will also help ease pressures.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:45 pm

With pressures on the NHS remaining at record highs, the CEO of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, which operates Royal Preston Hospital Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, says that public treatment of the A&E service could make a big difference.

Last week, hospital trusts in Morecambe Bay and Blackpool declared 'critical incidents', announcing they were cancelling non-urgent procedures and asking people to contact 111 rather than attending A&E, due to high levels of staff sickness, as well as increasing numbers of patients with Covid, and in A&E.

As Lancashire prepares for a surge in Omicron cases, Kevin McGee explains that helping reduce the demand on A&E could ensure that Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust can continue to cope, without having to declare a critical incident.

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Kevin Mcgee, the CEO of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, asks people to consider carefully whether they need to attend A&E, and be patient with staff if they do.

Kevin said: "Genuinely, if people need A&E, they must come to A&E, we do not want to stop people from coming in or dissuade them, however, just think very carefully. There are other options than A&E, for instance you can use 111 online. And if you then make the decision that you do need to come to A&E, please bear with us, you will have a longer wait than normal. That causes stress I know to patients but it's also stressful to our staff, and we have had instances where staff have been verbally abused because of the long waits. Our staff are magnificent, they're working under the most pressurised position anybody can imagine, so please be patient with your staff, and if your wait is longer than it should be, just please bear with us."

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Speaking to the Post last Friday, Kevin explained that careful use of and patience with A&E is just one way that the public can help ease the pressures on their local NHS, and make sure it does not become overwhelmed if Covid cases do surge.

Whilst work began on a new 'surge hub' and the renovation of the hospital's restaurant in order to increase capacity, Kevin explained that getting vaccinated was "the most important thing that anybody can do to protect themselves, their family, their loved ones and their communities", whilst ensuring quick pick ups for discharged patients also helps free up beds for those in need.

Royal Preston Hospital is preparing for a surge in Covid cases, as work is underway to increase bed capacity.

Kevin, who was previously the Hospital Cell Lead for Lancashire & South Cumbria and CEO of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added: "I've worked in the NHS now for 35 years, this is the most pressurised position that I've experienced, but what I'm absolutely confident about, with the staff that we've got, how staff are working, the planning that we've done, is that we will get through this period, and we will start to plan for the restoration of activity and reduction of our waiting lists, but this has to be a joint effort between ourselves and our communities.

"So everything that I said about vaccination, everything I've said about choosing services wisely, everything I've said about being respectful to staff, and not being abusive to any of our staff, I think our communities can help us by really, really taking that on board- by community supporting the hospital, the hospital and staff supporting the communities, we will get through this."

As well as reducing pressure on A&E, Kevin says that getting vaccinated is the best way that people can help the NHS.