North Cumbria’s A&E departments seeing increased number of people as temperatures rise

There has been an increase in the number of people attending north Cumbria’s emergency departments as temperatures continue to rise.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) which runs the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven is experiencing ongoing and increasing pressure on both sites and is encouraging people to choose the right service.

Ali Budd, director of nursing for NCUH and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, explains:

“It is vital that people receive care in the right place for them at the right time so we can focus on those who really need to be in our acute hospitals. A&E is for serious and life threatening conditions only. For minor or less urgent conditions there are many alternatives, such as your GP, pharmacist or urgent treatment centre.

“We always prioritise emergency patients and anyone with a serious or life threatening condition should not hesitate to come to A&E. We will see everyone as quickly as possible however, those with less urgent conditions can expect longer waits than usual.”

The surge in demand is believed to be in part due to the hot weather. Ali added:

“While it may seem unusual for our services to be so busy in the summer months there are a number of factors contributing to the high demand we are seeing. Hot weather can exacerbate some health conditions and for vulnerable people, such as those who are young, frail or elderly, it can be particularly dangerous. Dehydration can lead to serious complications such as urinary tract infections and delirium so it is important to stay hydrated.

“Cumbria is a popular tourist destination so we currently have more people in the area than usual, especially as we look to the weekend with large events such as Kendal Calling. We are appealing to the public for their help by following public health advice for staying safe in hot weather.”

Professor John Howarth, deputy chief executive for both trusts, said:

“Our staff across our hospitals and community services are working extremely hard to maintain safe patient care. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them for their dedication under these challenging circumstances.”