People warned to avoid 'exceptionally busy' A&E department at N&N

David Powles writes about his weekend at the N&N.

People have been asked to attend A&E only if it is absolutely essential - Credit: Nick Butcher

People have been asked to steer clear of the "exceptionally busy" A&E department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital unless a visit is absolutely necessary.

In a video posted on social media, Norfolk and Waveney's chief nurse Cath Byford described the strain departments the region's three main hospitals are currently facing. 

The video on the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) social media accounts shows Ms Byford asking people to think carefully about the type of medical attention they need and only attend A&E if absolutely necessary.

She said: "Our emergency departments are really very busy at the moment and are caring for some very sick patients and we know some should and could be treated elsewhere.

"Any time of the day, any day of the week, help and advice is available and it is really important we use the NHS wisely.

"If your condition is not life-threatening there are a range of options for you to consider."

She urged people to make use of services such as the 111 phone line or online or visiting either their local pharmacies or walk-in centres before turning to A&E if the matter is desperate.

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She added: "Please do help us help you. Use the NHS wisely and that will assure them they are able to treat those people with life-threatening concerns or conditions in a much more timely way."

The same message was delivered further afield. 

Govindan Raghuraman, deputy medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, shared his message in a video recorded in the hospitals emergency department itself.

He said: "This is a fervent appeal to all the patients who are currently unwell and seeking access to the hospital or other healthcare access.

"Our plea is to only come to the hospital if there is a need for it. There are other alternate access available through your GPS or your 111 calls and urgent health centres."

Earlier this week, the QEH also tightened visitor restrictions following a "sharp increase" in the number of Covid patients it was treating. 

As of Friday there were 27 patients in the hospital who had tested positive for the virus.