Do your bit to help

A plea for people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) to play their part in supporting their extremely pressured hospitals in the region during what is expected to be a phenomenally busy Christmas period.

Hospital leaders have said local people can help to reduce pressure on services in three specific ways:

 Helping loved ones who are well enough to leave hospital, to recover at home or in another suitable care setting, so that beds are available for those who need to be cared for in hospital.

Visiting for healthcare advice when it is not an emergency, to ensure you use the most appropriate service for your needs and so that those who really need to be in A&E can be seen as quickly as possible.

 Calling 999 only when it is a genuine life-threatening emergency, so that ambulances are able to respond quickly to those who require emergency care.

Dr Bernie Marden, Medical Director at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust said: “As we prepare for the impact of Omicron, we are appealing to our local communities to support us by helping to make sure the only people in our hospitals are those who really need to be there.

“People can help to make a difference by promptly collecting and supporting loved ones who are well enough to leave hospital and continue their recovery at home. The quicker we can get someone home, the quicker we can give the bed to another person who really needs it now.”

With Christmas just a few days away, hospital leaders are also reminding people of other ways in which they can help to reduce the pressure on the NHS – including using the most appropriate service for their needs, only calling 999 or visiting A&E in a genuine life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack, suspected stroke or experience of breathing difficulties, and by getting fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

They have also asked that anyone visiting a hospital or attending an appointment over the coming days takes a Lateral flow test before doing so.