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Warning as Leeds health and care services experience ‘highest-ever demand’

This week the health and care system in Leeds is facing demand higher than ever experienced, health chiefs have warned.

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 and seasonal flu means that all services across the city are dealing with a huge increase in the numbers of people accessing care. At the same time, services are experiencing staff shortages in many settings due to vacancies and sickness.

Emergency departments, (A&E) and ambulance services are seeing a large number of extremely unwell and frail patients who are suffering from the effects of Covid or flu. This means that people who do not have a life-threatening illness or injury will be waiting a long time, even those who arrive by ambulance.

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The NHS in Leeds says ir must prioritise urgent and emergency surgery so that it can ensure people get the specialist care that they need. This means that some planned surgery will be cancelled. People will be notified directly if their treatment or appointment needs to be rearranged.

During these busy times, the NHS needs families and friends to support their loved ones more than usual and provide additional help with arranging transport home or collecting their medicines.

Dr Sarah Forbes, Medical Director at Leeds office of NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said NHS is still here for you and urged people to continue to come to hospital if you are seriously unwell.

People unsure about the care you need should call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website.  

“It is more important than ever that people across the city take the steps they can to keep themselves well and protect those they know who are frail,” Dr Forbes said, as she urged people to take six simple steps together to overcome the challenges:

  • Regardless of pressures, patients who need urgent medical care (when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk) should continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases 
  • Save time if you have a minor injury or illness – A&E is busier than usual so, unless it is a life threatening or emergency case (when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk), you are likely to experience a long wait. It may be quicker for you to go to an Urgent treatment centre or call 111 / visit NHS111 online.  It’s free and they can give you urgent advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • If your GP or hospital has not contacted you, please attend your appointments as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled. 
  • All residents of Leeds and NHS workers can play a part to protect themselves and others. If you have Covid or flu symptoms avoid mixing with others, particularly those who are elderly or frail. Check the local service information and self-care tips available on our Together We Can’ website. The site includes information on how to access your GP and when to visit the pharmacy.
  • If you have a friend or relative in hospital support them with discharge transport.
  • Vaccines are the best way to protect everyone this winter – people are urged to have all Covid jabs and flu jabs if you’re eligible.

The Leeds Health and Care Partnership (LHCP) includes health and care organisations from across Leeds who are working together to improve the health of people in Leeds.

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