NHS Somerset has warned that its services across the county are under ‘extreme pressure’ today (Wednesday, December 21st).
It says a combination of today’s ambulance strike, recent cold weather, concerns about Strep A infections, and an increase in Flu as well as other seasonal viruses continue to impact both primary care as well as the region’s hospitals.
South Western Ambulance Service is urging people to think carefully before dialling 999, after 473 patients in the region were left waiting for ambulances by midday yesterday and 123 ambulances were at a standstill, waiting to hand over patients outside hospitals.
Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer for NHS Somerset, says: “The NHS in Somerset is working extremely hard to keep services running and to keep people safe. This will be especially important during the planned ambulance service industrial action taking place today (Wednesday December 21st) and Wednesday 28th December.”
“Regardless of any industrial action taking place, it is important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.”
“Despite this, we are asking people to use NHS services wisely and to carefully consider whether they need our services now, especially as the impact of the industrial action will be felt across the NHS.”
For medical care and advice, people are advised to visit 111 online first before calling 111, leaving 999 for life threatening medical or mental health emergencies.
Parents can also find advice and guidance on common childhood illnesses on the HANDi App which is available for Android phones on Google Play or on the App store for iPhone and iPad. Advice and guidance can also be found online at NHS Somerset.
By playing your part you can help ensure that key services remain available for those who genuinely need urgent healthcare support and advice, while also ensuring that people are
directed to the right service for their healthcare needs.
Anyone with a medical appointment booked on the days when industrial action is planned, please continue to attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact people directly if their appointment needs to be rescheduled.
While health and social care services in Somerset are working together to discharge patients who are medically fit to leave hospital, families are also being urged to support their loved ones to leave hospital so they can be more comfortable and recover more quickly at home.
The NHS across Somerset remains open for those who need urgent care. However, as staff manage the additional pressures, patients may have to wait longer to be seen. During this time, please be patient and kind.