Health leaders across Suffolk and north east Essex say local services are under intense pressure, more significant than at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With days until the Easter bank holiday, clinicians are thanking the public for heeding earlier advice about using services wisely because, they say, it means those in urgent need are prioritised.
They point to seasonal pressures and rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community which translates into high numbers of staff who are off work with COVID.
It also means there is a very limited number of beds available in hospitals and care homes across the area which is placing significant pressure on our local ambulance services and Emergency departments.
Suffolk GP Dr Richard West said: “ COVID-19 has not gone away and is having a bigger impact on health and care services across Suffolk and north east Essex than ever before.
"Your local GP, A&E, hospital and all the other staff than work in the NHS continue to work tirelessly to support the health and care needs of everyone.
“They are working hard to ensure patients who need an urgent consultation are prioritised.
“This might mean that you may experience delays for less urgent conditions.
“If you are experiencing a non-urgent or emergency health condition, you can continue to support us by seeking help from www.111.nhs.uk .
“This has plenty of advice about self-management and can direct you to the most appropriate service if you need it.”
Other sources of support and help can be obtained from the following:
· Calling NHS 111
· Community pharmacies
· Minor injury units
Lisa Nobes, Director of Nursing and Quality at the Suffolk and North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the work that everyone involved in health, care, the voluntary sector and carers in communities are doing to provide the best possible care to our families and loved ones at this incredibly challenging time.
“Our amazing staff in all of our services across the system continue to work tirelessly to treat the patients in their care.
“Please continue to be polite and treat them with the respect they deserve.
“Please also continue to take protective measures where possible, including taking up the offer of COVID-19 vaccination if you are eligible.“
Details of this, as always, are on the Suffolk and North East Essex Vaccination Service website – www.sneevaccine.org.uk .”