A spokesperson at NHS Borders said today that the department has been busy all week, and that a “large proportion of people attending could have received treatment in an alternative non-urgent setting”.
Patients are being asked to consider other arrangements in order that specialists are able to treat those who require urgent medical care.
○ to use the NHS inform website in the first instance to access advice on common symptoms, guidance for self-help and where to go if further medical care is needed
○ use the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub and Breathing Space telephone helpline to access mental health advice and guidance
○ use NHS 24 and the Out of Hours service if you are too ill to wait for your GP practice to open and provide the clinical advice and help they need
○ go to your local community pharmacy for expert help in treating minor illnesses such as coughs, earache and cold sores, along with common clinical conditions such as Urinary Tract Infections
○ contact your GP practice during the day for an appointment or over-the-phone advice, for example, if you have non-life threatening but painful injury such as a deep cut, a sprained ankle or a minor burn injury
The spokesperson added: “If you do require urgent medical care at the emergency department, please be patient.
“We are attending to patients as soon as we can, however, you may have to wait longer than you would normally expect; and patients will be treated according to clinical priority.
“If you are able to come to the department alone please do so. The waiting room currently has limited capacity due to physical distancing measures, so this will allow us to keep as much space free as possible for patients.
“Once you have been triaged we may ask you to return to your vehicle to wait if it is safe for you to do so.”
Patients showing symptoms of Covid-19 are asked not to attend the hospital, but instead phone NHS 24 on 111 and if the healthcare professional you speak to deems that you require further clinical assessment you will be directed to the appropriate care locally.