More People at A&E with Breathing Problems

Heart's been told more people are going to hospital in Medway with breathing problems than this time last year because of the heat and pollen

There are 30 more people a day attending the emergency department currently, compared with this time last year.

Rachel Perry, Service Manager in the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital says: “We’re seeing a lot of people experiencing breathing difficulties and chest pains as a result of the current continued hot spell of weather.

In most cases, we would advise people, if they are already under the care of Medway Community Healthcare’s community respiratory team or have been in the past, to contact them first.

If not, contact NHS Direct.

If NHS Direct advises patients to see their GP but the surgery is unable to offer an appointment, patients should ask the surgery to contact MedOCC (Medway On Call Care) which offers urgent appointments during the day on request from GP practices.

However, in severe cases, please come straight to the emergency department or contact the emergency services.

To minimise the effect of pollen, avoid being outside in the early morning and evening when the pollen count is at its highest; keep windows closed late afternoon when the pollen count rises and drive with your car windows closed.”

Additional advice from Katherine Longhurst, specialist respiratory practitioner, Medway Community Healthcare, is: “People should try to keep their home as cool as possible by closing curtains and also using fans, including the hand held type.  Patients should ensure that they have enough of their regular medication, drink plenty of water and rest more than usual."

Advice for looking after yourself and others in hot weather is available at

Useful Numbers:

NHS Direct: 0845 4647

MedOCC (provide out of hours care at night and weekends): 01634 891855

Medway NHS Healthcare Centre (where people can be seen by a GP or nurse, between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week): 01634 575232