Nearly 90 more people visited Grimsby's A&E department this Christmas compared with last year
NEARLY 1,300 people visited Grimsby's A&E department over the festive period – prompting calls for patients to think about whether they really need to go and to be better prepared.
Figures show 1,298 people visited the department at the Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day – an increase of 88 on last year.
And the aftermath of the New Year's Eve celebrations saw the highest number of admissions – with 192 people using the service on January 1.
It has prompted a health professional to remind people to choose their emergency services wisely.
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Mr Oltunde Ashaolu, clinical director of A&E at the hospital, said: "As we are in the winter period there are some steps that people with illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and other long-term conditions can take to help them avoid unwanted hospital visits.
"The first question is whether you have had your flu jab, then whether you need a review of the medicines you're taking before making sure you have got a care plan in place.
"Next you need to check you have the right medicines at home for your condition.
"Most common aches, pains and winter illnesses will begin to clear up by themselves within a few days with some tender loving care and self-care essentials, so there really is no need to call 999 or go to A&E.
"If you need advice, your high-street pharmacy or your GP are your experts and you can search for self-care advice online on NHS Choices."
Karen Dunderdale, chief nurse at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Hospitals Trust, said: "Our hospitals are exceptionally busy at the moment, both on our inpatient wards and in the A&E departments.
"We have created extra capacity to accommodate additional patients but we would urge everyone to please think twice before visiting A&E and ensure our staff are available for vulnerable people who are in an emergency situation.
"Most common aches, pains and winter illnesses will begin to clear up by themselves inside a couple of days.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff for their hard work and dedication during this extremely demanding period."
Meanwhile, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), which covers North East Lincolnshire, says calls were up dramatically in the first few hours of the new year.
It has been revealed that more than 1,000 emergency calls were made at the start of 2013, and by the end of the day this rose to 3,223.
"On average EMAS expect to receive around 2,000 calls in a day.
Peter Ripley, EMAS director of operations, said: "I pay tribute to our staff who worked on the frontline. They did a truly magnificent job, in challenging circumstances.
"The festive season may be over, however we expect to continue to receive significant call numbers over the next few weeks and I urge people to use the right NHS services available to them for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries."