Posted: Thu 10th Mar 2016

Don’t attend hospitals if you have symptoms of ‘flu or norovirus”, Wales’ top doctor urges

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 10th, 2016

People suffering with flu symptoms or the winter vomiting bug norovirus are being urged to avoid attending or visiting hospitals unless absolutely necessary.

Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hussey, is urging people to seek advice from the NHS Direct Wales telephone service about managing norovirus or to contact their pharmacist or GP about flu-like symptoms instead of attending accident and emergency departments.

Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hussey, is urging people to seek advice from the NHS Direct Wales telephone service about managing norovirus or to contact their pharmacist or GP about flu-like symptoms instead of attending accident and emergency departments.

Hospitals across Wales have had to close a number of beds to prevent the spread of norovirus among vulnerable patients. This has affected their ability to admit new patients quickly from A&E departments.

Emergency departments and the Welsh Ambulance Service continue to experience significant peaks in demand – attendances have peaked at 25% higher than the average daily number so far this year.

Dr Hussey said:

“GPs across Wales have seen a growing number of people with the winter vomiting bug or flu-like symptoms as well as an increase in respiratory conditions following the recent cold snap.

“This has created an increased demand for urgent GP appointments and may have made it difficult to book planned appointments.

“Hospital staff are reporting an increase in norovirus and flu on wards. We are asking people not to visit friends or relatives in hospital if they have experienced any sickness or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours. Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly, just like flu, and some hospital patients could be particularly vulnerable.

“Advice and information is available through NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, in pharmacies and through the Choose Pharmacy minor ailments scheme which includes prescriptions for certain conditions.”

People across Wales are being urged to ‘choose well’ by using the right NHS service for their needs.

These include:

  • Self care – taking care of yourself if you have conditions such as a cough, sore throat, grazed knee, other minor issues;
  • GP or out of hours services – for vomiting, ear pain/hearing loss, painful cough, symptoms that wont go away;
  • Community pharmacists – for diarrhoea, runny nose, upset stomach, headache;
  • Opticians – problems with eyes;
  • Minor Injury units – for cuts, sprains, bites, minor illnesses or injuries.
  • Emergency departments – chocking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss, serious, life-threatening injury, suspected stroke.

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