A Broadstairs councillor is calling for people to spare a thought for the medical staff at QEQM Hospital in Margate who will spend the Christmas holiday at work.
Cllr David Parsons says the doctors, nurses and other health care workers are ‘true heroes’ who will be giving up their time to care for those in need.
Some 735 staff will be manning the wards at QEQM on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Cllr Parsons (pictured below), who represents Bradstowe Ward, said: “As we approach that special time of year during which many of us will be relaxing and enjoying time with our friends and family, staff at the QEQM Hospital in Margate will be working throughout the festive season to care for those who find themselves in need of urgent medical assistance.
“It is a sad but very real inevitability that some people, particularly the elderly or frail, could be spending this Christmas in hospital. They will need to be supported, comforted, and cared for during their stay. Thankfully we have some of the most talented and dedicated individuals working behind the scenes in our local hospital who will be ready and willing to provide that care.
“These doctors, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals are the true heroes of East Kent. They work incredibly hard all year round to deliver outstanding levels of patient care whilst consistently demonstrating the high standards of professionalism and compassion we expect. A tough job to do, often with little thanks received.
“Even on Christmas Day, many of them will substitute precious time with their friends and family for a busy 13-hour shift with just enough time afterwards to get home, sleep and then return on Boxing Day to do the same.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to those heroes on duty this Christmas at the QEQM Hospital in Margate.”
Relieving the pressure
East Kent Hospitals Trust is also asking people to think about what health services they need to attend this winter to help relieve the pressure on A&E departments.
More than a third of the 13,120 people who attended east Kent’s emergency departments in Ashford and Margate in November needed the hospital’s minor injury or GP service rather than emergency care.
East Kent Hospitals’ Medical Director, Dr Paul Stevens said: “Each emergency department does provide services for minor injuries or illnesses, but the waits in these departments are often much longer than in other urgent care services, such as a local minor injuries unit, because emergency patients take priority.
“By getting to know where your local minor injury units are, you can get faster treatment for a range of illnesses and injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, minor cuts, wounds, insect and animal bites, eye injuries and burns and scalds.
“This will also keep the emergency departments free for patients who need emergency treatment or a hospital bed, and for people who are unable to travel,” he added.
A&E wait times
An average of 437 people attended Margate and Ashford’s emergency departments each day in November.
Data collected by the Trust shows 69.56% were treated, admitted or discharged within the target time of four hours at Ashford and Margate, compared with 99.75% for patients who attended a minor injury unit.
This waiting time is an improvement on October’s performance of 62.6%, equating to around 1,000 additional people being treated, admitted or discharged within four hours in east Kent’s emergency departments in November.
To help people with a minor injury or illness get the treatment they need faster, east Kent’s NHS has launched a guide to local services and the conditions they treat. This is available on East Kent Hospitals’ website at http://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/services/minor-injuries/
Health service apps
Kent’s NHS also has a number of apps to help people find the right health service nearest to them. The NHS ‘Health Help Now’ app provides practical advice for all health services, including local pharmacies.
The WaitLess app combines current waiting times at all minor injury units, with up-to-the-minute travel information to help people decide where to head to for faster treatment.