Record admissions at A&E department
Steady rise year-on-year
Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary has recorded the highest number of emergency admissions in a decade.
New figures show there were 17,786 admissions in the year to April compared with 17,066 in the previous 12 month period.
The region’s ageing population is a major contributory factor in the increasing numbers seeking urgent medical attention.
Deputy general manager and lead nurse, Gail Meier, said: “The number of admissions via DGRI’s emergency department has been steadily rising, year-on-year.
“And the increasing number reflects that Dumfries and Galloway has a notable and increasingly large proportion of older people, many of whom have complex, underlying medical conditions.”
She added: “Not all of these are unique patients, with many being readmitted.
“However, combinations of medical conditions and general frailty often mean diagnostic tests and treatment are required to first stabilise patients in our emergency department before they go on to receive other treatment.”
According to an NHS spokesman the actual number of people dealt with at the infirmary’s emergency department “stood at about 36,000 in the financial year 2017/18 which is about one quarter of the region’s entire population”.
He said: “And DGRI is just one of two emergency departments in the region – the other being at Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer.”
However, it was pointed out that not all cases arriving at the accident department are emergencies.
And that prompted a plea this week for people to consider all options for treatment before seeking help at the hospital following a spike in attendances at A&E.
NHS staff took to social media and posted a Facebook message urging non-urgent patients to see their GP.
The messaged read: “DGRI is currently experiencing high levels of admissions.
“It would be greatly appreciated if members of the public could consider all options for treatments before attending the emergency department including the use of NHS24, your local GP and pharmacy.”
The NHS spokesman told the Standard there was no particular reason for the higher than normal numbers.
He said: “DGRI can periodically experience a very high volume of people attending the emergency department and, as was the case earlier this week, there is not always an obvious underlying reason.
“In these circumstances we take the opportunity to remind members of the public that this department is for emergencies only.”
Meanwhile, figures from the Scottish National Statistics Publication show the number of people treated as in-patient and day cases at DGRI this year was 33,173, down from 35,090 last year.