‘Astonishing’ number of visits to A&E deparments according to hospital trust

Patients are being asked to think carefully before going to A&E as Redbridge’s hospital trust reports an “astonishing” number of people visiting its emergency departments on one day in March.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) says 750 people came through the doors of the A&E wards at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, and Queen’s Hospital, Romford, on March 19.

According to a BHRUT spokesman, these included patients seeking treatment for an injury to a finger nail, an itchy face, a swollen hand and several with injured toes.

She said: “Others admitted that they had been unable to get an appointment with their GP that day, and so had come to A&E instead.

“The sheer number of patients coming to A&E at the hospitals is leading to lengthy waits for non-urgent patients.”

As reported previously in the Recorder, BHRUT had 120 occasions when patients were left waiting in ambulances for over an hour in one week in February.

Both BHRUT and NHS North East London and the City (NELC), the partnership of local primary care trusts, are encouraging people to use other services for non life-threatening conditions such as GPs, pharmacists or polyclinics including The Practice Loxford in Ilford Lane, Ilford.

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Expectant mother Majeda Dewan, 34, of Pembroke Road, Seven Kings, told the Recorder of her difficulty last week in getting a GP appointment.

She had to wait four days to be seen at The Doctors House in Cameron Road, Seven Kings.

In most cases, patients should get a GP appointment within 48 hours, according to a NELC spokesman.

He said: “Encouraging people not to go to A&E won’t over-burden our GPs.

“Along with our trained pharmacists and walk-in centres it is possible to get the help and treatment you need when you need it.”

There are 47 GP practices in Redbridge covering a population of 264,000.

Advice is also available through NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.