Published: 06:00, 09 April 2020
| Updated: 14:44, 09 April 2020
A paramedic has highlighted what hospital waiting room "should look like" in a now viral post.
Gemma Hopkins hopes that the current quietness of A&E at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford remains after the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
In a viral post on Facebook that's been shared almost 3,000 times, the healthcare worker praised the increased use of alternative healthcare pathways, such as the NHS' website.
The 32-year-old wrote: "This was taken a few nights ago in the William Harvey Hospital. The waiting room completely empty and this is what it is like 98% of the time now with the odd person coming in.
"Isn't it amazing how a pandemic can cause so many people to suddenly stay at home and self treat, self medicate and seek GP advice, pharmacists advice and use the 111 service, as before the only option they could ever see was call 999 for an EMERGENCY ambulance or come up to A&E with not just one family member but sometimes four or five.
"That's six seats taken for one person who, if sat in the waiting room for hours, is not a priority and clearly isn't very ill or they would be put somewhere else.
"The amount of time I've stepped over people to get through or taken patients to the other waiting room and had to ask people to move their belongings - and I'm talking black sacks of stuff sometimes just to get a wheelchair through - is unreal.
"So if something positive can come from this madness here it is, this is what a hospital should look like.
"Talk to your pharmacist, call your GP (yes they are busy, be patient, be understanding) and call 111, because 999 is for life threatening emergencies not a taxi service because you don't have the cash to get in.
"If you didn't think the NHS was abused before you were very much mistaken.
"Even when this is all over.....Stay Safe, Stay Home and use the pathways put in place, that have always been there before you immediately jump to A&E and 999."
She then lists the following alternatives to going to a hospital'sA&E department:
She notes that: "Everyone here is putting a lot of effort into doing their bit, and those behind the scenes are sometimes forgotten.
"We really need to emphasise the use of these alternative pathways, and educate the public as to where to find them.
"The hospital is not shut, its open to everyone and if they are feeling unwell in this current climate and all else fails, they are welcome to come to A&E."
More by this authorCharlie Harman