‘Help us help you’ as health services face extreme pressure over the new year period

30 December 2022


Health and care services are under extreme pressure this new year period, say health and care leaders across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Pressures experienced across the system include demand for urgent and emergency care, rising flu and covid numbers, as well as ongoing challenges with workforce sickness. However, the public can help to ease the strain on services during this very busy period. Everyone is being urged to ‘help us help you’ by carefully choosing the best service for your needs and to contact NHS 111 in the first instance for non-urgent cases.

Those with the highest level of need will be prioritised, which could mean patients with non-urgent symptoms may have a long wait to be seen. Equally some routine operations are likely to be rescheduled. However, cancer and other critical operations will continue to be prioritised.

Alison Bussey, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “I am urging everyone in the county to only come to A&E for life threatening conditions and injuries. Please do not to call 999 or attend A&E unless it’s a genuine emergency.

NHS 111 online should be your first port of call and will help you find where to get help and support. Minor Injury Units located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch can also provide advice and treatment for a variety of minor injuries.

“Please be assured we are working extremely hard with our partners to release ambulance crews to attend the most urgent patients in the community, to improve flow through our hospitals, and to keep people safe.

“Despite the severe challenges faced, our services remain open to anyone who needs them during this very busy period.”

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please consider whether you do need to attend an emergency department or call 999. If it’s not a life-threatening emergency there are other places to seek help.
  •  Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department, they can book you in.
  • Minor Injury Units are there to help with injuries that need attention urgently but are not critical or life threatening. There are four MIUs in the county, open 8am to 8pm, located in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Oswestry and Whitchurch. For more information visit: Community hospitals and health centres in Shropshire.
  • Please pick up friends or relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to be discharged and the hospital have contacted you. This frees up a bed for other patients who need it.
  • Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as upset stomachs, earache, skin rashes and for relief of coughs and colds. Find a pharmacy near you. 
  • Get vaccinated against covid and flu if you are eligible. Vaccination will protect not only yourself but others around you.
  • Stay at home and particularly don’t visit hospitals if you have symptoms of an infectious illness such as covid, flu or norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug). Remember hands, face, space.
  • For concerns about Strep A, please see the latest guidance here. 
  • Mental health crisis helpline – urgent mental health support is available 24/7 on 0808 196 4501.

Page last updated 30 December 2022