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Hospital ‘under pressure’

By Fiona Reid
Hospital ‘under pressure’

HIGH numbers of patients are causing ‘real pressure’ at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and on the region’s healthcare systems.

Although covid cases have drastically dropped, NHS bosses this week warned that a significant volume of other health concerns are now coming to light locally.

And with lockdown easing, patients are flooding to the main hospital and other clinics.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway general manager acute and diagnostics

Carole Morton said: “Our acute hospitals, in particular, are currently under real pressure.

“Although you might think that the drop in covid cases would help our position, the moves out of lockdown have been accompanied by a really notable increase in referrals and admissions to hospital.”

She revealed among the range of conditions, there’s been a rise in tummy bugs and said: “People who maybe haven’t left their homes very much over the last year are now starting to emerge. Immunity against the likes of things like tummy bugs can therefore be lowered, and we’re starting to see a few cases of those.

“It’s also that people, especially older people, may have become physically deconditioned through lack of activity, and this can obviously result in issues.

“Another significant concern is that people are only now coming forward with issues which they’ve been sitting on for some time, perhaps cautious due to covid or not wanting to impose on the system.

“A consequence of this is that we’re now seeing quite a high volume of people now needing help at the same time.”

And that’s on top of those still awaiting non-urgent treatment, which was delayed

by the need to manage covid risks.

Carole added: “We’ve got a system where our hospitals are facing significant pressure.

“It’s also worth noting that this isn’t an increase in demand that’s likely to pass very quickly. This could be the situation that we’re in over several weeks, as we continue to be presented with referrals and admissions of patients who really need our help.”

However, she stressed that people should continue to come forward for assistance if they have a concern around any healthcare issue.

But she also requested ‘continued patience’ from anyone waiting to be seen on non-urgent matters, along with an understanding that there won’t be an immediate return to normal service.

Meanwhile, NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace underlined the message and also warned the coronavirus will be around for ‘some time’.

He said: “There are always going to be unknowns, and concerns around the dangers posed by variants.

“We’ll also be dealing with the indirect effects of covid for some time, helping those people who need immediate attention and working to recover our systems and help those people whose treatment and support has been impacted and delayed as a result of the coronavirus.

“We’re hugely grateful for all the efforts and sacrifices that people have made, and we would ask everyone to continue working with us and to appreciate that some of the biggest impacts of covid on our health and social care systems are only just now starting to be felt.”

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