Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire emergency services only treating new patients if they have 'serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions'

PUBLISHED: 17:04 06 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:38 07 January 2015

Lister Hospital, Stevenage

Lister Hospital, Stevenage


Emergency services in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire will not take patients unless they are in a "serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions", doctors have said after seeing an unprecedented increase in patients.

Services across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire are experiencing “major pressures” this week and do not have the facilities to treat minor health complaints.

The situation is so serious that health bosses and the most senior doctors from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire have united to deliver a hard-hitting message to the public.

Dr Hari Pathmanathan, chair of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have never seen our hospitals under such pressure before which is why it’s vital that everyone understands the urgency of the situation and what you can do to protect our essential hospital services this winter.

“The Accident and Emergency departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions.

“Ambulances should only be called in genuine emergencies.

“If you use emergency services incorrectly you are risking the lives of others and won’t get the best treatment for your illness.

“If you come to A&E in Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire with a minor health complaint, your care will not be a priority and you may be sent away to visit a GP or pharmacist.”

People are being urged not to visit accident and emergency if they have with common winter illnesses, such as chest infections, coughs and colds, diarrhoea or vomiting.

He added: “More than 300 patients arrived at the Lister hospital’s A&E department yesterday, including a man who was looking for advice about a rash he had had for several months and a child brought in for a check-up who had been feeling sick but had since recovered.

“Accident and Emergency was not the right place for them.”

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