People in Wolverhampton and surrounding areas are being asked to help ease the pressure on their local urgent and emergency care services and stay away from Accident and Emergency (A&E) unless they are seriously ill or seriously injured.

The pressures on hospitals throughout the NHS is high at any time of the year, but during the winter months the pressures increase on local hospitals, the health service in general and on social services.

As admissions to emergency departments increase, health leaders across the city are now asking people to take action and keep themselves and those that care for well as we move further into winter.

Dr Jonathan Odum, Medical Director at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital in the city, said:  "The NHS across the country faces extremely difficult challenges throughout winter and we are no exception. We are experiencing record levels of admissions, ambulance arrivals and experiencing delays in discharging patients which is resulting in extra pressure on available bed space for those that really need them.  It is important that together with our partners across the health economy, we get the message across to the population we serve that they should stay away from hospital unless it is absolutely necessary.

"People should only come to hospital or dial 999 if they are really seriously ill or have a life threatening condition or injury, like choking, chest pain, blood loss, blacking out or a serious injury.

"Calling NHS 111 will help people get the right treatment in the right place at the right time. Walk in centres can treat a wide range of illnesses and many pharmacies now operate extended hours and can help people get the right treatment. A person's local GP should also be contacted to see how an individual should be treated.

"Working together - health partners, social services and the local population - we can all help to reduce the pressures we are feeling at the moment."

Geraint Griffith, Deputy Chief Executive of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, which provides community services to people living in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said: "We are working in partnership with our all our NHS colleagues across Staffordshire and the Black Country to help patients back into their own homes or other place of residence as quickly and safely as possible after hospital. All efforts are being made to support patients through services such as intermediate care and Living Independently Staffordshire and we will continue to ensure all our patients receive the highest standards of care."

Nick Henry, West Midlands Ambulance Service General Manager for the Black Country said: "We are working very closely with New Cross Hospital to manage the flow of patients from when the ambulance arrives to hand over to staff in A&E in order to minimise any delays.  If our ambulances are caught up at hospital, it has an adverse effect on our ability to respond to the next patient.

"As a Trust, we are treating an increasing number of patients at home without the need to take them to A&E.  Almost half our patients are treated and discharged by ambulance crews at the scene, which is reducing the pressure on A&E Departments."

Dr Helen Hibbs, Accountable Officer, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said today, "The CCG are working with all our partners in health and social care to mitigate the current pressures that are present in the system and to ensure that patients continue to get the highest quality care in the right place at the right time."

Across the country a Stay Well This Winter campaign is focussed on preventing admissions to hospitals and encouraging people to take certain steps to keep themselves out of A&E.

These include:

  • seeking immediate advice from a pharmacist as soon as they feel unwell
  • getting prescriptions and completing the course
  • keeping warm as we prepare for colder weather
  • getting a flu jab
  • stocking up on supplies
  • keeping an eye on elderly friends and relatives

For further information please contact Richard Radcliffe at or telephone 01902 695900.

  • released: Tuesday 5 January, 2016