Hospitals warn of growing pressures after demand reaches highest level this year

Hospitals have warned of increasing pressures after recording the highest levels of demand so far this year.

On Monday, more than 1,000 people visited St George’s Hospital in Blackshaw Road, Tooting, Epsom Hospital in Dorking Road, Epsom, and St Helier University Hospital in Wrythe Lane, Sutton.

Last week was the busiest this year, with 6,441 people visiting the three emergency departments in total, and an average 800 people attending each day.

Ahead of the bank holiday the hospitals are urging the public to use their GPs and pharmacies where possible to relieve some of the pressures.

Kate Slemeck, managing director for St George’s Hospital, said: “We are currently very busy, and as we come into the bank holiday weekend I must once again ask members of the public for their help.

 “We are always here for those who need care, and patients should still come forward in an emergency or if it’s life-threatening. But when it’s less urgent, NHS 111 online or a pharmacist should be the first port of call.”

The hospitals advise people to only attend an emergency department or dial 999 for care that is urgent or life-threatening.

Some GP surgeries and pharmacies will be open during the Easter break to help with illnesses such as tonsillitis, coughs, colds and earaches.

There are seven common conditions that pharmacists can provide some prescription medicines for without seeing a GP first, including sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women under the age of 65.

A spokeswoman from St George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group, said: “If you need urgent mental health care, contact one of the 24-hour numbers for the right support service.

“Merton, Sutton, or Wandsworth residents should ring 0800 028 8000 or if in Surrey call 0800 915 4644.

NHS 111 is a 24/7 service where people can receive medical help or advice.”

 To find a pharmacy near you that is open during Easter visit:

 Pictured top: St George’s Hospital in Tooting (Picture: Google Street View)

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