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Coronavirus update: NHS Grampian urges the public to stop avoidable hospital admissions

By David Porter

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Public Health Scotland will not publish Covid-19 statistics till Tuesday due to the Easter holiday but as lockdown rules start to ease, NHS Grampian frontline workers have asked members of the public to “be responsible” and stop potentially avoidable admissions to hospital.

Medics made the plea with hospitals in the region still facing extra pressure due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Last weekend was particularly challenging for staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department with a surge in those needing admitted and medics are keen to avoid a repeat this weekend with lockdown rules easing.

Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital
Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital

Consultant Louise McCulloch said: “Go outside, see your friends, have fun as far the rules allow, enjoy this step towards some normality, but please take care.

“In the hospital the number of Covid-19 patients has dropped to quite low levels – which is excellent progress.

"However we still have less capacity due to guidelines, which are in place to keep patients and staff safe as we make efforts to get to patients waiting for procedures as quickly as we can – avoidable admissions impact our ability to do that.

“With lockdown easing and the weather improving, we are expecting to see a rise in those attending at hospital with potentially avoidable injuries and trauma.

“Ultimately go out, stick with the new rules and take responsibility for yourself.

"If you land up in hospital because of an avoidable injury, ultimately that may affect our ability to admit and treat someone who unavoidably needs to come to hospital as well as we otherwise could have.”

The trauma and orthopaedic surgeon added that while people were at home it was vital they took care while pursuing any hobbies or DIY activities.

She said: “We would implore all road users to drive carefully, considerately and within the speed limit because if you have a serious accident, which could have been avoided, it impacts our ability to deal with others. Pedal cyclists are at equal risk.

“We would also ask all DIY enthusiasts to think twice and think safety first.

"Climbing ladders to clear or paint guttering, trimming bushes and trees are all popular DIY tasks at this time of year and result in a large number of hospital attendances.

"Use proper safety wear - gloves, ear and eye defenders, protective trousers, take your time do not rush, watch for trip hazards such as trailing cables, plan ahead, do not take on jobs for the first time.

“We need people to act If you are returning to sport after a long break there is nothing wrong with taking it a bit more easy than usual as you build up your strength and fitness – for some people it will be a year since they last played sport.

“If you are having a few beers or glasses or wine, take responsibility and don’t binge drink. We also see cases of food poisoning from undercooked food from barbecues.

We can all play our part in avoiding needless admissions by taking as much care as possible.”

Cameron Matthew, interim deputy chief officer for the acute sector, added: “We’d like to thank the public for the roll they have played in helping suppress Covid-19 to relatively low levels in the region.

“That has helped us to start treating more people with other conditions more quickly. Everyone that has stuck with the rules has played their part in saving lives – and not just those who would have suffered due to Covid-19 had it spread more widely in the region.

“Please be sensible as restrictions lift, be responsible for yourself and stay safe, the hospitals across Grampian – be it Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Dr Gray’s, Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital or any of our community hospitals – are still exceptionally busy as we move to return to dealing with our usual workload in a more normal way.”

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