Wisbech health chief puts out appeal to help under pressure NHS
Fenland health chiefs are urging people to help the under-pressure NHS by avoiding A&E over the festive season.
Leaders of the Wisbech Local Clinical Commissioning Group are asking people to only dial 999 in an emergency.
While the winter has so far been mild, there have been cases of viral illness and chest infections.
LCG chairman Dr Andrew Wordsworth is asking people to consult a pharmacist or dial 111 before visiting A&E, unless it is an emergency.
He said: “There are pressures generally through the NHS on its services and A&E is no exception.
“Calls for 999 go up significantly and it is not always appropriate. I think it is important to remember that A&E is really there for life-threatening emergencies.”
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn has been on a low red alert, which has not caused many significant problems.
People are advised to help the NHS services locally by having a flu jab if eligible, which is available from a GP or pharmacist.
Dr Wordsworth said: “It is important to do what we can to prevent illness at this time of year.”
A smooth transition has been seen at Wisbech’s North Cambridgeshire Hospital following the end of the Uniting Care contract.
The consortium and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group have ended the £800 million contract as the arrangement was “no longer financially viable”.
The contract, which included running the Wisbech hospital, was due to cover five years but lasted just five months.
Chief-officer Chris Humphris said there have not been any problems during the transitional period.
He said: “From December 4 instead of contracting for a whole range of community services and some hospital services through Uniting Care, we are now contracting directly with the organisations.
“Our priority is to continue to secure those services and we are looking for opportunities to develop in the future if possible.
“It is business as usual at the hospital. Our priority is the patients and the staff.”