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Covid spike across biggest health board sees A&E services ‘busier than ever’

NHS Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)
NHS Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland’s largest health board has seen a surge in Covid cases, with medical staff reporting accident and emergency (A&E) services being “busier than ever”.

Hospitals across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC), of which there are 35 of different types, reported on Wednesday that 457 in-patients had tested positive for the virus in the last 28 days.

This figure is a jump from 277 cases reported on June 21.

And the health board, which according to the NHS provides for a population of 1.14 million people, reported its hospital occupancy is currently at 90.6%.

Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for acute services for NHSGGC, highlighted the significant pressure facing frontline teams (NHSGGC/PA)

With one in 15 people in Scotland now infected with the virus, senior clinicians, including deputy medical director for acute services for NHSGGC Dr Scott Davidson, have warned members of the public to stay away from A&E unless their condition is very urgent or life-threatening.

“Our staff are working around the clock to make sure we continue to see the sickest patients coming to our A&Es but we’re over capacity,” Dr Davidson said.

“Services, quite frankly, are busier than ever, creating a bottleneck at the front door, and as a result patients unfortunately are having to wait long periods of time to be treated.”

Patients have been urged to access unscheduled and emergency care through NHS inform, NHS 24 and their GPs and pharmacists instead.

“You might still face a wait to use these services, but for most people you’ll be seen much faster than if you come to A&E,” Dr Davidson said.

NHSGCC said strains on the health service are also down to more, sicker patients coming to A&E as a result of holding off during the height of previous spikes in cases and a current high level of staff absence due to Covid.

Dr Davidson added: “It’s absolutely crucial for the public to help us now by really considering how they access urgent care.

“Do you need to come to A&E or could you be better served elsewhere?”