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Hospitals under pressure from too many patients

Hospitals in east Kent are currently extremely busy, caring for large numbers of people who are seriously ill.

The onset of winter weather has resulted in a surge in attendances at A&E particularly by older people and people with lung problems, many of whom need to be admitted for inpatient care.

The NHS has robust plans to provide the right treatment for people who are seriously ill but is appealing to people who don’t have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury to avoid going to A&E and to seek care elsewhere.

A&E under pressure Credit: Press Assocation

It is estimated that between 15 and 25 per cent of people attending A&E could be treated by another NHS service.

If you have a health problem and are not sure what to do or who to contact, please use the Health Help Now web app which lists services and gives health advice and information for east Kent: www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.

If you need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency, ring NHS 111.

If people have had a serious accident or consider their condition to be life-threatening, then A&E may well be the right place to go and we would encourage them to do that.

But we still see thousands of people every year attending our A&Es with symptoms that could be treated at home, by a GP or pharmacist or at a minor injuries unit.

We are asking you if it’s not urgent to stay away from A&E and keep it free for those who really need the specialist care it provides.

Use Health Help Now or NHS 111 and help us to help you.

– Jane Ely, Director of Operations

Hospital A&E Warning

East Kent Hospitals covering Ashford, Canterbury and Margate are struggling to cope with patients coming to Accident and Emergency. It's particularly bad at the Kent and Canterbury where they're dealing with almost 200 patients a day.

That's double the usual number. NHS Managers say only people with life-threatening and serious illnesses should go to A and E.

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