Ahead of what is being dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – when bars, pubs and restaurants reopen – The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is urging the public to act sensibly to not risk overwhelming A&Es.
President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson said: “To many Saturday will come as a welcome release from an unprecedented nationwide lockdown and it is understandable that people want to let off steam.
“But we urge the public to be careful and use common sense. The NHS has coped admirably during this period, but staff are exhausted, and the system is very fragile. After seeing all of the goodwill, all of the clapping for the NHS, it would be heartbreaking to see A&Es overwhelmed on the first post-lockdown evening by people who have gotten too drunk or been in a fight.
“If you go to A&E because you’re plastered, you end up stretching the health service further and potentially put others at risk. Not only do you risk accidentally infecting someone with coronavirus because you don’t know you have it, but you are taking up the time of doctors who could be treating patients whose lives are in danger.
“It has never been more important that our Emergency Departments are for absolute emergencies only, and it has never been more important that people drink responsibly.
“While social distancing measures may have been relaxed, the threat of coronavirus has not gone away; it is still very real, it is still very dangerous.
“We need the public to help; act responsibly, drink responsibly and do maintain social distancing. It is also really important that people choose the care service that is most appropriate for their needs. If it is not an emergency, call 111, see a pharmacist, book a GP appointment. If you are seriously injured or sick, go to your A&E – you will be treated.
“We cannot go back to a pre-covid world where everyone turns up at a crowded A&E for treatment. We need patients to choose wisely and we need proper provision of alternative care services. Without both, A&Es risk becoming hubs of infection and we will end up back at square one.”