NHS Tayside Emergency Department Staff plea to public

Emergency Department team plea as temperatures plummet

With temperatures set to plummet overnight, clinical teams in NHS Tayside’s Emergency Departments are encouraging people to stay at home to avoid icy conditions.

Hundreds of people have already attended NHS Tayside’s Emergency Departments in Ninewells Hospital and Perth Royal Infirmary in the past week after suffering trips and falls on the ice. There has been a sharp increase in the number of people needing treatment for slip and trip injuries, such as broken bones including hip fractures, and minor head injuries, with many of those requiring surgery for their injuries.

Dr Julie Ronald, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, is urging people in Tayside to avoid going out in wintry weather as much as possible to protect the NHS.

She said, “Winter is often a very busy period for our Emergency Department and we have experienced a marked increase in the number of patients with broken bones attending due to the icy conditions in recent weeks. This demand is on top of the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To help protect the NHS, we are encouraging people not to go out in icy conditions unless it is absolutely necessary. If they do have to leave their homes, they should ensure they dress warmly, wear sensible shoes with a good grip and take care when on icy surfaces.

“If you want to stay safe whilst walking on icy paths, our advice is to Walk Like a Penguin – bend the knees, point feet slightly outwards, and extend arms to each side. Walk flat footed, taking short slow steps and keep your centre of gravity over your feet.”

Dr Ronald added, “It’s important that everyone knows that the way people access A&E services has changed in the past month across Scotland to make sure everyone gets the right care in the right place.

“If you think you need A&E but it’s not life-threatening, you should now call NHS 24 on 111 first, day or night, to be directed to the right NHS service. “If A&E is the most appropriate place to provide the right care, patients will either be directly referred to A&E by NHS 24 or a telephone or video consultation with one of the clinical team.”

There is a dedicated website www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk which is a one-stop-shop for information about how to look after common winter illnesses at home, where to get the right care in the right place for health issues and tips on staying safe during icy weather.

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