Only attend Oxfordshire's A&E departments in genuine emergencies, trust warns, as pressure continues

030222-john radcliffe hospital- Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images
The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive/PA Images

People in Oxfordshire are being urged to avoid visiting A&E departments in the county unless it is an emergency, as NHS staff continue working under high demand.

Emergency departments are facing mounting pressure and remain extremely busy, according to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Sam Foster, the Trust’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “Our Emergency Departments, especially at the John Radcliffe Hospital, are extremely busy at the moment.

"We strongly advise that unless it is an emergency, you use the NHS 111 online service which can offer you quick advice on the best way for you to get the care you need.

"There are alternatives available to A&E if do not need urgent care – your local GP, pharmacist, or Minor Injury Unit can also provide medical help."

The trust running the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals says their emergency departments remain very busy Credit: ITV News Meridian

Those that come to emergency departments when it is not necessary are being told they will risk waiting a long time before being seen, as patients are seen in order of priority.

To help alleviate the pressure, the trust is also asking families to help their loved ones home from hospital if they are able to.

Lily O'Connor, Director for Urgent Care in Oxfordshire, said: "Delays in discharging medically-fit patients from hospital mean that we are unable to use those beds for new patients coming in.

"None of us want to see lengthy ambulance waits at the 'front door' of our Emergency Departments, which mean that paramedics are unable to respond to other 999 calls in the community. We want patients who need treatment in our hospitals to be where they need to be.

"We will always support people to get home with appropriate care packages if needed - there are criteria in place to make sure care is given to the right people."

In September 2021, the trust renewed calls for people to think about dialing 111 instead of coming to hospital as staff dealt with both the pandemic and high demand from other emergencies.

Strained hospitals in Oxfordshire urge public to 'choose right service' as they face high demand

Robot Penny: The cleaning machine making hospital patients smile