Hospital urges public to use 111 not 999 for non-emergency care

Barnet General Hospital in Chipping Barnet. Picture: Google Street View.

Barnet General Hospital in Chipping Barnet. Picture: Google Street View. - Credit: Archant

The closest hospital to Hatfield, Brookmans Park, Welham Green, South Mimms, and Potters Bar has asked the public to use 111 for non-emergencies as London's hospitals face increased demand due to coronavirus. 

The Royal Free NHS Trust, which includes Barnet and Hampstead Hospitals, has also cancelled 'non-urgent' services due to rising cases as the number of COVID-19 patients continues to soar.   

Cases initially peaked on December 6, with 113 beds occupied, then began gradually falling, dropping to 95 by December 15, but in the week between December 15 and 22, cases shot up again, more than doubling to a record 210.  

On December 21, the trust took the "difficult decision" to temporarily pause all non-urgent planned procedures/operations, and non-urgent and consultant-led out-patient services.

A week later, on December 29, beds occupied by COVID-19 patients had almost doubled again, to 400 - just under a third of the trust's 1,289 beds. 

Similarly, London Ambulance NHS Trust has warned that: "Our frontline ambulance crews and call handlers are under enormous pressure trying to help an unprecedented numbers of patients, working tirelessly in the most challenging of circumstances.

"To help us reach patients who need us as quickly as we can, please only call 999 for life-threatening emergencies.

"For urgent medical help when it’s not an emergency, please go to NHS111 online first."

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Meanwhile, Chase Farm Hospital, also part of the Royal Free NHS Trust, close to Potters Bar, was among the first to receive the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets staff at Chase Farm Hospital as part of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets staff at Chase Farm Hospital as part of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out - Credit: Royal Free NHS Trust

Royal Free London group chief executive Caroline Clarke, who welcomed the Prime Minister to Chase Farm Hospital on January 4, said: “There are now vaccination centres open at all three of our hospitals, ensuring that those staff at the forefront of our response to COVID-19 – and other at-risk members of our community – have access to a vaccine that is sure to save many lives.

"Our teams have worked exceptionally hard to get these vaccination centres up and running. It was really important for us to show the Prime Minister the lengths that our staff have gone to, and how their efforts will ensure that the roll out goes as smoothly as possible. It was great to see their hard work being recognised."

NHS

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