Record ad­mis­sions at A&E depart­ment

Steady rise year-on-year

The Galloway News - - DUMFRIES INFIRMARY - Kenny Mac­Don­ald

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.

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