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Health / Health board reminds folk to only visit A&E for emergencies

Gilbert Bain Hospital. Photo: Shetland News

PEOPLE are being reminded not to visit A&E at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick at the moment unless they have a medical emergency or a child requiring assessment.

NHS Shetland director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said if the person’s need is not obviously urgent they should ring NHS 24 for initial advice.

“If they do need to come to accident and emergency for assessment they will be advised to do this,” she said.

“That assessment at a weekend might include seeing a GP or receiving advice from a GP.”

The reminder comes amid a spike in coronavirus cases, which has seen four people hospitalised in the last few days.

NHS Shetland said there has been a “high volume” of people visiting A&E when they should be calling NHS 24 first.

NHS 24 111 service provides urgent care advice day or night for health and dental support when GP practices or the dentist is closed.

By calling 111, people can access support if they are in mental distress or they think they need A&E but their condition is not life threatening.

If needed, NHS 24 can organise an appointment at A&E at a pre-arranged time so that we can ensure you are given an appointment when the department is not busy.

People may be offered an appointment in the new same day emergency care unit as an alternative to A&E and this can also be accessed via NHS 24 111.

At the weekend, a GP or primary care nurse can also be accessed via the NHS 24 111 service.

GP practices (other than the public holidays) will remain open but will be phoning patients and only arranging face to face assessments when required.

People are reminded to call 999 in an emergency. An emergency is a critical or life threatening situation and examples include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • An acute confused state
  • Fits that are not stopping
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Severe burns or scalds

Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or a stroke. Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma, such as a serious road traffic accident, a fall from a height or a serious head injury.