Patients flood out-of-hours lines with 'unprecedented' calls
Sickly patients have flooded health phone lines with an
"unprecedented surge" in calls... and it's set to get worse!
Around 2,200 patients called an out-of-hours line in Kent
and Medway for help last Saturday - a rise of almost half (46%) on
the same time last year.
Festive-time calls were up by almost a third (31%) on Sunday,
with 1,700 calls countywide.
Now health bosses have issued a warning - if you're feeling
rough, try to "tough it out" where possible.
Colds, flu, tonsilitis and even norovirus have been laying
patients low over the Christmas holidays.
Many wrongly believed their GP surgery was closed until after
bosses in the county are worried the demand this weekend could be
even worse and are reminding people that all GP practices in Kent
and Medway are open as normal, apart from on New Year's Day.
Dr Mark Reynolds, medical director at South East Health said
last weekend’s demand meant 500 more patients needed treatment
compared with the same time last year.
He urged patients to only contact the service if they can’t be
seen by a GP.
He said: “If people ring us with simple illnesses that don’t
need much of a doctor's input, it’s much harder for us to get to
the people that are really poorly, it swamps the service and makes
it harder to respond to people who really would benefit during the
out of hours period.”
He added that the majority of people suffering from simple cold,
flu and virus symptoms could be treated at home.
“It’s the very young, the very old, people with underlying
health issues that we really need to be looking after.”
A spokesman for the NHS in Kent and Medway said there had been
an "unprecedented surge" in calls to the out-of-hours service,
which is for urgent, new medical problems.
Services available over the festive
NHS Direct – for any health questions, around the clock, and to
find your local NHS services, phone NHS Direct on 08 45 46 47 or
These are where you can see a GP even if you are not registered
with them. They are open every day, including New Year’s Day
(unless otherwise stated) at:
DMC Healthcare Centre, 547-553 Canterbury Street, Gillingham,
ME7 5LF. 01634 575232. Open 8am-8pm.
Sheppey NHS Healthcare Centre, Sheppey Community Hospital,
Plover Road, Minster on Sea, Sheerness. ME12 3LT. 01795 879199.
White Horse Surgery, Vale Road, Northfleet, DA11 8BZ. 0300 0300
000. Open 8am-8pm. (Closed Christmas Day)
Minor injuries units – all are open every day, including
Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day (unless otherwise
Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital, Sittingbourne: Open 9am to 9pm
every day. (01795 418300)
Sheppey Community Hospital, Sheppey: Open 9am to 9pm every day,
except 25 December. (01795 879104)
Buckland Hospital, Dover: Open Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm,
weekends and holidays open 10am to 6pm. (01304 222 612)
Victoria Hospital, Deal: Open 8am to 6pm, every day (01304
Folkestone walk-in centre: Open Monday to Friday 7am to 10pm,
weekends and holidays open 9am to 10pm. (01303 854494)
Estuary View Medical Centre, Estuary View Business Park, Boorman
Way, Whitstable: Open 8am to 8pm every day. (01227 284309)
Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Ethelbert Road, Canterbury: Open
24 hours, every day. (01227 864244)
Faversham Cottage Hospital, Bank Street, Faversham: Open 8am to
8pm, every day.
Gravesham Community Hospital Minor Injury Unit, Bath Street,
Gravesend: Open 8am to 8pm, every day (01474 360500)
Sevenoaks Hospital MIU, Hospital Road, Sevenoaks: Open 8am to
8pm, every day.
Edenbridge Hospital MIU, Mill Hill, Edenbridge: Open 8.30am to
6.30pm every day (01732 863164)
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