Alcohol and drug-related incidents, people falling over drunk and suffering minor head injuries and minor illnesses that should have been dealt with in the comfort of patients’ own homes.
Charge nurse Mark Nevison found himself mopping up at James Cook’s A&E department this morning, after a long Black Friday – which also kept crews from North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service busy.
Mark and the team were pleased to report that, so far this weekend, they have not seen any serious or life-threatening injuries thought to be related to alcohol or drugs – and we hope this continues.
But a number of patients had suffered head injuries after falling over drunk, and Mark urged any revellers out tonight to stay safe and drink responsibly.
He said: “Thankfully, at James Cook A&E, we didn’t see anybody seriously injured due to drink last night, but minor
injuries to the head and cuts and grazes were common, as people had fallen over.
“Thank you to the people across the area who went out to enjoy themselves, but stayed safe at the same time.
“We hope people will continue to do this tonight.”
Throughout the day yesterday, the A&E teams at both James Cook and The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton saw a number of minor illnesses and injuries, that could have been dealt with at home through self-care with the help of a pharmacist, or by GPs and GP walk-in centres.
These came in addition to the pressures posed by alcohol-related injuries and illness – and genuine life-or-death situation staff had to prioritise such as heart attacks and stroke, severe breathing difficulties, elderly people with broken hips and cases of fluid on the lungs.
These minor ailments that could have been treated elsewhere, keeping A&E free for emergencies, included:
- Eye infection conjunctivitis
- Coughs and colds
- Period pain
- Minor abdominal pain brought on as a common side effect of laxative use for constipation. Some patients with abdominal pain had not attempted to treat it themselves at home with painkillers before going to A&E.
- Ear pain and infection
NHS colleagues from North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Yorkshire Ambulance Service also reported a busy night via social media, as some revellers found themselves needing help from paramedics after drinking too much.
The Yorkshire Ambulance service also received a 999 call about a patient’s bunion – which they decided did not require an ambulance.
In one tweet, Yorkshire Ambulance reminded patients: “You don’t get seen any quicker in A&E if you turn up in an ambulance – they prioritise on clinical need”.
Our A&E departments expect a busy weekend to continue and patients are being reminded A&E doesn’t mean absolutely everything. There are a number of alternatives for minor injuries and illnesses such as NHS 111, Urgent Care centres like The Resolution in North Ormesby or Eston Grange Healthcare Centre on Normanby Road and Redcar Primary Care Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit.
If you do attend A&E with a minor illness or injury, you will face a long wait to be seen if staff are busy dealing with major trauma and life-threatening illness as we must prioritise those with the greatest need first.