Citizens in Cumbernauld are being encouraged to continue to access NHS services for non-coronavirus (COVID-19) related health issues, following concerns that seriously ill people may be staying away from hospitals and health centres because of the national emergency.
Concerning statistics published indicate patients are delaying seeing their GP during the pandemic. There has been a drop in urgent suspected cancer referrals, as well as a reduction in families bringing children for immunisation.
Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub understands that visits to the Accident and Emergency Department at Monklands Hospital have dropped by more than 50% in the last six weeks, from a regular average weekly total of approximately 1,300 to less than 600.
Reasons may include wishing to reduce the strain on the NHS, or worries over becoming infected with COVID-19 as well as the misconception that doctors do not want to see patients.
In this respect, Scottish Government has launched ‘The NHS is Open’ campaign, which urges people to contact their GP or local hospital if they have urgent health worries. This includes telephoning 111 for out-of-hours issues and dialling 999 for emergencies. Jeane Freeman MSP, Scottish Government’s Health Secretary, commented:
“It is vital for people to know that GP surgeries and hospitals are still there for them if needed.
“While we appreciate the public doing all they can to reduce the strain on our NHS at this challenging time, if people have serious health concerns or symptoms, it’s just as important as ever to seek immediate medical assistance.”
“This pandemic does not mean we’ve stopped the fight against cancer, heart attacks or other serious health conditions.
“It is vital people continue to raise any health worries with their doctor at the earliest possible time and continue to attend regular check-ups and appointments when they are invited to do so.” Calum Campbell, Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire, added:
“NHS Lanarkshire is open and it is safe. We have had to change how we deliver services and your appointments may feel a bit different – these may now be phone calls or video consultations. But if people need to be seen face-to-face, then it will still happen.
“Our Accident and Emergency departments are open and our immunisation programmes are continuing as normal. I would like to thank the public for their continued support in appropriately dealing with minor injuries and illnesses through NHS 24 and local pharmacies.
“This has meant that our Accident and Emergency Departments can focus on the patients who need them most.
“If you are concerned about a potential cancer sign or symptom, don’t delay contacting your GP practice. It’s best to get checked, as the earlier cancer is found the easier it is to treat. We want to hear from anyone who has an urgent medical problem.”
Available at www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/coronavirus, this platform also acts a central hub for key resources, links and information from official sources on the coronavirus emergency. Updated regularly, it includes latest advice and details as directed by UK Government, Scottish Government and Health Protection Scotland.
Meanwhile, for individuals presenting with symptoms of coronavirus, the clear message remains to self-isolate, obtain advice online from NHS inform and contact NHS 24 on 111 if the intensity of symptoms is a cause for concern or you cannot get online.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. Like many viruses, there is no specific treatment for coronavirus. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the infection.
Hospital and emergency treatment is provided to those who present with serious or life-threatening symptoms. It is imperative, however, that people with coronavirus symptoms do not visit a GP surgery or hospital without being directly instructed to do so by the NHS.
Bespoke advice, guidance and practical support are available to Cumbernauld residents during coronavirus restrictions through Cornerstone House Centre’s Cumbernauld CHaT (Community Help and Talk) Service. To access this free provision, please telephone 07940 569527 any day of the week between 9am and 9pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
People living in Cumbernauld seeking support at this time are also encouraged to download and utilise The Cumbernauld Coronavirus 100 Directory. This details 100 organisations, services, supports and resources across the public, voluntary and private sectors which may be of benefit to Cumbernauld citizens during the coronavirus outbreak.
Furthermore, Scottish Government has set up a free Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 111 4000, operational 9am-5pm, for people who are older, disabled, pregnant or vulnerable in some way. This service provides general information and advice about coronavirus. It is not, however, designed to be used by those showing symptoms seeking healthcare support.
International Nurses Day takes place on Tuesday 12 May 2020, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This marks the contributions nurses make to society, never more poignant than at this present time as nurses continue to play an invaluable role in the battle against coronavirus.