Croydon’s NHS hospitals are having to cope with a “perfect storm” this week of hot weather, dangerously toxic air pollution and a junior doctors’ strike, with NHS London issuing a reminder: “No one wants an avoidable trip to A&E”.
Matthew Kershaw, the chief executive of Croydon Health Services NHS Trust which runs Mayday and Purley hospitals, sent an email to colleagues and partners this morning in which he said, “We are already seeing attendance for emergency treatment rise due to the current heatwave.
“To help us care for patients needing urgent and emergency treatment, we are urging Croydon residents to only use A&E in serious emergencies…
“We need your help to keep people in our community safe… We are prioritising all emergency treatment, critical care, maternity and neonatal care, as well as cancer clinics during the strike.
“We will only cancel appointments and procedures where it is necessary and will reschedule as soon as possible.”
The doctors’ three-day strike began this morning at 7am and continues until Saturday, June 17. All NHS hospitals in the country are affected.
“During the strike, it is really important that people in Croydon who need urgent medical care continue to come forward – especially in emergency and life-threatening cases,” Kershaw wrote.
“Our senior doctors, nurses and support will be on the frontline helping to keep our patients safe and cared for, whilst respecting the rights of our staff to strike.
“But we know that this week is going to be busy!”
Kershaw and NHS management are encouraging people to go to NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) unless there is a life-threatening emergency, when they should still call 999.
GP practices and pharmacies are unaffected by the strike and are also able to offer medical advice and care.
NHS London says that patients at all hospitals in the capital face long waits this week as the hot weather, pollution alert and strikes puts extra pressure on emergency services. They have warned that London has also been registering particularly high pollen counts, “triggering severe hay fever in sufferers”.
They said today, “Londoners are encouraged to keep on top of symptoms brought on by these conditions, including the use of antihistamines if affected by hay fever and the use of inhalers for those with asthma.”
A spokesperson for the NHS in London said: “Our emergency services are already extremely busy.
“It’s important that Londoners use our services wisely, using NHS 111 online as well as local services like general practice and pharmacies as first points of call for care, but people should always use 999 in a life-threatening emergency.
“And of course, we want people to enjoy the hot weather but enjoy it safely, by keeping hydrated, staying protected from the sun and keeping your home nice and cool.
“No one wants an avoidable trip to A&E.”
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