Lister Hospital in Stevenage is no longer treating patients with minor injuries or illnesses – as East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust prepares itself for an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
The trust is planning ahead so the Lister’s Emergency Department has extra capacity to deal with the more serious cases that come through our doors.
Patients with minor injuries or illnesses are asked to use the NHS111 online service to determine whether they need hospital treatment and, if so, will be directed to the Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital.
Extra staff are already in place at the New QEII in Howlands (AL7 4HQ) to meet demand.
Before attending the New QEII, we ask those with minor injuries or illnesses to please visit the website 111.nhs.uk for assessment.
Examples of minor injuries and illnesses include:
- Muscle and joint injuries e.g. strains, sprains, soft tissue injury and back pain (new onset, not chronic)
- Minor wound infections and cellulitis
- Suspected simple bone fractures
- Bites and stings
- Simple wounds and lacerations
- Superficial burns and scalds
- Removal of foreign bodies from the ears or nose (e.g. buried studs, rings)
- Minor eye injuries
- Minor head injuries with no loss of consciousness
- Superficial wound closure
- Removal of splinters
- Ear and throat infections
- Skin infections and rashes
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Emergency (hormonal) contraception.
Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – a high temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back) a new, continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours), or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – will not be seen at the New QEII, so please stay at home and the use the NHS111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
The services for minor injuries at the New QEII will be available 24 hours a day, with one exception – X-rays will not be available after 11pm, so patients may be asked to attend the following morning.
For minor illnesses, please contact NHS 111 to get a booked appointment as a GP will not be available round the clock.
Children can be treated for minor injuries 24 hours a day, but those under the age of one with a minor injury will continue to be treated at the Lister. Again, please contact NHS 11 to get a booked appointment for minor illnesses.
No patient will have to pay for parking twice, so anyone who is redirected to the New QEII from the Lister will receive a parking slip.
Nick Carver, Chief Executive of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: “We usually treat 40-50 patients a day with minor injuries at Lister Hospital’s Emergency Department.
“With an anticipated increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, we are planning ahead to ensure Lister’s Emergency Department has extra capacity to deal with the more serious cases that come through our doors.
“By moving treatment for minor injuries to the New QEII Hospital, where we have extra staff to meet demand, this will create the capacity we will need in the future.
“This move also gives greater protection to these patients, ensuring they receive the medical attention they require but without the need to visit an acute setting where our more seriously ill patients are being treated.
“We appreciate this may be problematic for some of our most vulnerable patients, so we are working through scenario planning and risk assessments to ensure they are protected.”