Bedford’s A&E sees a summer surge in patient numbers

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Hospital chiefs are urging people to think twice about visiting Bedford Hospital’s A&E following an exceptionally busy spell for the emergency department.

Families are being asked to consider other services first, such as their GP surgery, walk-in centre or pharmacy and to only use A&E or dial 999 in a real emergency.

It comes as nearly 6,000 patients attended the A&E department in July, with a five per centre rise in a number of hospital admissions.

Bedford Hospital medical director Colette Marshall said: “We have experienced an exceptionally busy month, where in addition to the usual knocks and grazes that we expect to see during the school holidays, we have also experienced a significant rise in the number of frail and elderly patients admitted to hospital, who are seriously unwell and require our immediate attention.

“This means that those with less serious symptoms will have to wait longer, so we are asking people to consider whether they could receive quicker and more appropriate treatment elsewhere.”

In Bedfordshire, a GP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Those with a problem that is not an emergency can ring their practice number for advice. If the surgery is closed, you will be transferred to the GP out of hours service where advice and help will be provided.

Pharmacists can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as headaches and back pains, coughs and colds, sore throat, upset stomach, and skin rashes.

They can help choose the best medicines such as pain killers and anti-histamines, and help people stock their medicine cabinet at home to treat minor illnesses and ailments.

For more information on the most suitable NHS service for your needs visit www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk