Hospitals in Scunthorpe and Grimsby continue to operate under extreme pressure and the local community is being asked to help by:
- Choosing the most appropriate NHS service, which is not always A&E
- Refraining from visiting hospital if they are suffering with diarrhoea and/or vomiting until they have been without symptoms for at least 48 hours.
Jayne Adamson, director of people and organisational effectiveness, said: “Our staff are already working under very difficult circumstances but the situation has worsened over the last week with an increase in cases of winter ailments in our local community including diarrhoea and/or vomiting (D&V) and flu which is affecting both our staff and patients. We have rising levels of staff sickness and our bed capacity has been reduced, particularly at Grimsby hospital, where ward closures are in place to prevent the spread of D&V.”
Winter bugs, such as Norovirus, spread very quickly in environments such as hospitals and care homes. While most people fight off winter ailments with rest, self-care and over the counter medicines, they can make others, who are not already in the best of health, very poorly. Hospital staff can also become ill and have to take off work which puts pressure on hospital wards which are already extremely busy at this time of year.
Jayne continued: “We realise that people will want to visit friends and relatives in hospital, but patients are particularly vulnerable to these types of infections. If you have symptoms of vomiting and, or diarrhoea, or flu like symptoms, the best thing you can do to protect your loved ones is to delay any visits to hospital until you are fully recovered and have been symptom free for two days.”
In light of the pressures facing the Trust some planned operations and routine appointments will continue to be postponed until Friday February 23.
Jayne explained: “We have to prioritise our most vulnerable patients, which are those requiring urgent and emergency treatment; including cancer patients. Regrettably we feel we have no option but to continue to postpone a number of planned operations and appointments.
“This equates to a small number of patients - approximately 15% of operations will be affected. We do not want to be in a position where we are cancelling anyone’s procedure or appointment but we have to prioritise those most in need.”
All cancer operations will continue to go ahead as planned as will urgent and emergency care. Patients affected will be contacted by the Trust directly. Anyone who does not hear from the Trust should attend their appointment as planned.
Self care for winter ailments
Most people do not need to seek medical help for winter ailments and a lot of relatively mild illnesses can be treated at home without a trip to the GP. However, if you are living with a long term health condition, it's really important you visit a pharmacist for advice if you feel a winter illness - such as a cold or flu - coming on so you can prevent it becoming more serious.
A&E is only for if someone is badly injured, seriously ill or if they have been advised to go there by SPA (01472 256256), NHS 111, their GP or a Pharmacist.
If you are poorly or injured but you know it’s not an emergency, you can always phone first for 24 hour advice and access to urgent health care services. In North East Lincolnshire you should call the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 and in North Lincolnshire you should call NHS 111. They will ask you in detail about your symptoms and advise you if you need to see a doctor.
If you or your family is affected by a winter ailment such as diarrhoea and vomiting or a flu-like illness, please don’t visit someone in hospital or in a care home until you’ve had no symptoms for 48 hours. Follow the advice below:
- Follow good hygiene measures, including thorough hand washing, particularly after visiting the toilet
- Stay away from school or work until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped
- Drink plenty of fluids and rest to prevent dehydration
- Make sure that any surface contaminated by vomit or faeces is thoroughly disinfected after an episode of illness
- If symptoms worsen or persist for more than 48 hours, contact your GP or take advice from NHS 111 in North Lincolnshire or SPA (01472 256256) for North East Lincolnshire
- Delay any visits to hospitals, care or nursing homes or schools after fully recovered and don’t visit people who are especially vulnerable to infection, such as elderly relatives
- If visiting someone on hospital, even if you are well, obey the signs for hand washing before entering and after leaving wards.