PEOPLE who think they have the norovirus should stay away from Basingstoke hospital’s accident and emergency department, health chiefs say.
Dr John Kitching, clinical director of unscheduled care at the hospital, said: “Norovirus is still very prevalent, and highly infectious. People with vomiting and diarrhoea, and, or, tummy ache and a temperature, should ask themselves if this could be Norovirus – and if so, please don’t come to A&E. People who attend with these symptoms are one of the reasons for its spread, often to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and children.”
Hospital managers say people are still going to the accident and emergency department for minor problems when they should seek treatment elsewhere.
They say the department has been extremely busy in recent days – with people turning up asking for treatment for coughs, colds, sore throats, hangovers and upset stomachs.
Residents are being asked to make sure they have a basic self-care kit including painkillers, plasters and antiseptic cream.
Nursing chiefs are also reminding people that pharmacists offer expert and confidential advice on minor ailments such as headaches other general aches and pains, or cystitis. Pharmacists can help with guidance about which medicines are best to take, and what to avoid, as well as emergency contraception.
Patients likely to need a GP out-of-hours should call their practice for the out-of-hours service telephone number.
Donna Green, Chief Nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “People with minor injuries and illnesses should use one of the many alternatives to A&E – and chances are they will be seen more quickly.
“A&E should only be used for genuine medical emergencies, such as major injury, severe blood loss, chest pains and loss of consciousness. This means that medical resources are directed at those that need them most, when they need them most.”
Hampshire Area Manager for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Paul Jefferies, also cautioned about misuse of 999. He said: “Think before you dial, misuse costs lives. Please only call 999 in the event of a genuine medical emergency such as heart attack, cardiac arrest, severe loss of blood, stroke, breathing difficulties or serious accident.”