Concerns raised as Hinchingbrooke Hospital sees sharp decline in A&E attendance

The Emergency Department at Hinchingbrooke Hospital is seeing cases of Covid-19.

The Emergency Department at Hinchingbrooke Hospital is seeing cases of Covid-19. - Credit: Archant

The Trust that runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital is urging people to continue to visit A&E departments if they need help after seeing a sharp decline in attendance.

Evidence across the country seems to show that people with potentially serious health problems are staying away due to fears of contracting coronavius or because they feel they will be a burden on the health system, according to NHS England.

Nationally, the country recorded the lowest number of A&E visits last month since records began with 1.53 million people going to A&E departments in March compared to 2.17 million the year before.

Hinchingbooke Hospital has confirmed it has seen around a 40 per cent drop in those attending with some of the most serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Dr Vimal Desai, consultant in emergency medicine at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, told The Hunts Post although some decline in the number of patients attending was expected due to lower numbers of road traffic accidents and work-relate injuries, it was a “concern”.

“With individuals self-isolating and working from home, we expected a reduction in the number of work-related injuries as well as road traffic accidents. In addition, as anticipated, sports injuries are relatively non-existent.

“However, what is worrying is that we are also seeing less patients presenting with heart-related problems, gastro-intestinal issues and neurological illnesses such as strokes - as much as 40 per cent less than perhaps what we were treating this time last year.”

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Dr Desai also sought to reassure people about the precautions in place to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

“Whilst we appreciate that COVID-19 is constantly on the news and in the forefront of everyone’s minds, it is vital that everyone remembers that these other conditions are still ever-present and should be managed with the same level of urgency as coronavirus.

“Precautions are in place to minimise the spread of infection and the Emergency Department is still open for new-onset or worsening chest pain, severe abdominal pain and other symptoms that may have required prompt emergency treatment in the past. For further advice, refer to the ‘NHS 111’ website.”

Dr Desai’s remarks have been taken from his latest From The Front line column, which is available on The Hunts Post website at: