Heatwave sparks surge in people seeking medical help in Blackpool - but fewer people go to A&E

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Last month’s heatwave saw a surge in people seeking medical help at the Walk-In Centre in Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, and the Urgent Care Centre at the resort’s Victoria Hospital – but fewer people went to A&E compared to last July, new figures have revealed.

Some 19,256 patients sought treatment as temperatures surged, an average of 621 every day and 1,407 than the same time last year. Yet the Vic’s emergency department recorded 707 fewer attendances, following a high profile ‘Think! Why A&E?’ campaign urging people to only turn up in emergencies.

The hospital has the same winter pressures as others across the country, but the resort’s influx of tourists means medics don’t see a drop in patients in the summer – and are kept busy year-round.

In May, Dr John Calvert, a GP at Waterloo Medical Centre and advisor at the town’s clinical commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for organising and paying for residents’ health care, said those who turn up to A&E with minor illnesses or injuries “could face a very long wait.” He said: “Many people could be better off visiting a pharmacist or looking after themselves as home.”

Across England almost 2.2m patients went to A&E last month, 100,000 more than last July. Emergency admissions rose by 6.3 per cent. Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “The summer months are traditionally the time acute hospitals and frontline staff have to recharge the batteries. This year we have had no respite.”