Residents warned of extra pressures on health services this winter

The Fylde Coast NHS is urging people to use health services responsibly this winter as they all begin to face increasing pressures.

Winter has always posed a significant challenge to health services with demand increasing massively during this time. This is due to long-term health conditions being made worse by the cold weather and people catching other winter related illnesses.

The hospital has seen significant increases in COVID-19 hospital admissions and health services across the Fylde Coast are under a huge amount of pressure. Waiting times in the emergency department have also started to increase and these are expected to get worse. This problem can be made worse by some members of the public turning up at A&E with illnesses that could have been dealt with at home or by other health services.

To alleviate some of the pressures the hospital is facing people are being urged to choose the right health service for their need.

  • People should treat common illnesses at home as soon as they start and seek advice from their pharmacist when needed. Pharmacists are experts on medicines for common ailments and can offer consultations if needed.
  • If someone needs to speak to a doctor, they can call their GP surgery. They will likely be offered a telephone or video consultation, but the GP will see them if needed.
  • If you feel you need more urgent care you should use the NHS 111 service. This can be done either by phone or by using the online service at 111.nhs.uk. Trained professionals will be able to assess you and make sure you are directed to the best service for your need. This may be a call with a doctor who can then be able to set up treatments in your own home using some of the community nurse services. If you need to go to hospital NHS 111 advisors can book you in so A&E are expecting you and can see you safely.
  • In an emergency and for life threatening conditions, always call 999.

If somebody has any symptoms of COVID-19, they should book a test and stay at home until they get their tests results. Only leave home to have a test.

Natalie Hudson, Executive director of operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are working tirelessly to deal with the rising pressures as a result of the ongoing response to the pandemic and to ensure patients are treated safely and efficiently. We are working hard to reduce any delays and would like to express our regret to anyone experiencing long waits for treatment.

“The colder months are always a challenging time for the NHS and this year, those seasonal pressures are exacerbated by demands created by COVID-19, the increased admissions to hospital, and the numbers of seriously ill patients being treated in our intensive care units.

“But please remember we are here for you and I would urge you to seek help if you need it. Anyone who is unsure of the right place to get treatment should contact NHS 111, either on the phone or online. Please help us to help you by choosing the right health service for your health need.”