NHS Northamptonshire

6 January 2011, 15:45 | Updated: 6 January 2011, 15:53

Health services in Northamptonshire are continuing to experience extremely high demand, with increased numbers of patients presenting with respiratory illnesses, pneumonia and flu and flu like symptoms.

In particular, Nenedoc Out of Hours service has experienced a minimum of 20% increase in calls every day, in some cases rising to 50%, compared to the same period last year. The 8am to 8pm Lakeside Plus walk in centre in Corby saw a record 150 patients yesterday, (compared to a normal level of around 40) whilst A+E departments continue to be extremely busy.

East Midlands Ambulance Service have also experienced a high demand, with an increase of 44% on the number of calls compared to the previous December, the busiest day being 28th December which saw a 64% increase on the previous year.

Hospitals are reprioritising clinicians’ workloads so that they can focus on the patients who are most sick, whilst continuing to ensure patient safety. Partners across the health service are working together to support with more resources being put into Nenedoc (Out of Hours service), and extending opening hours for a range of services including minor injury units.

Our Patient Advice and Information Service will also open additionally over the weekend to signpost people – details below.
NHS Northamptonshire wants to remind people that they can also help by being aware of what services are available and choosing well. In particular, many people are turning up at Accident and Emergency (A+E) inappropriately, with cold or flu symptoms which could be dealt with as described below.

Which service is right for you - make sure you choose well

If you are not sure which service is right for you and you want further information about the options available, click on our Choose Well website.

Colds and flu like symptoms

For the vast majority of people, cold and flu are best treated through self-care with advice from a pharmacist. Our hospitals are, however, reporting increasing numbers of patients with suspected or confirmed H1N1 (swine) flu. If you think you may have this, you can check your symptoms on the NHS website

Those patients most -at risk from the flu virus, for example people aged over 65 or those with long-term health conditions, are advised to get their seasonal flu jabs as soon as possible in the New Year. Click here for further details on the flu vaccination, or contact your local GP surgery.

Please note that flu jabs are not available to children under 5 years old (unless they are in the at risk category – i.e. with a long-term condition - speak to your GP about the flu jab. Local health services are getting a lot of requests. Please note this is a national Department of Health policy so we are unable to change this.

Visiting restrictions

·    You should not visit the hospitals if you feel unwell, or have been unwell in the last week. You should not visit if you have been in contact with anyone who has been symptomatic.
·    Strict hand hygiene must be followed -  to limit risks of spreading viruses, visitors must use the foaming sanitiser on entering and prior to leaving the ward.
·    Babies and small children should not visit. If you have any concerns, please contact our ward staff who will be happy to advise further.
·    With regards to gifts for patients, please do not bring any fruit, flowers or open foods, as these may harbour infection.

Northampton General Hospital

Visiting restrictions at NGH have been changed and now children are not allowed to visit relatives on adult wards. Standard visiting times at most inpatient areas at NGH remain as 2pm – 7pm.

Kettering General Hospital

There are no current visiting restrictions at KGH but please follow the guidance above.

Minor injuries and minor illnesses

In addition, don't forget there are a number of alternatives to A+E if you have minor injuries, including Corby Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) and Northampton Minor Illness and Minor Injury (MIaMI). Click here or see editor’s notes for full details.

Corby MIU remains open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and between 9am and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday, call 01536 400600 for more information.

Additionally, MIaMI, which is usually only open Monday to Friday will be open over the weekend to enable patients with minor injuries to attend who may otherwise have gone to A+E. Opening times TBC, call 01604 745050.

Don’t forget Corby also has an 8am to 8pm GP practice, Lakeside Plus.

Patient Advice and Information Service

Due to the high demand for services, our Patient Advice and Information Service will be opening additionally over the weekend, from 9am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

You can contact the Patient Advice and Information Service for 0800 5870 879. Please note this is not a medical service but they will be able to advise you on the range of services available and also provide advice on flu.