A flu type virus has led to a surge in telephone calls to GPs and emergency services across the region.
Medical staff at doctors surgeries across Solihull have witnessed a rocketing number of enquiries, averaging 20 to30 per day relating to the virus which causes a cold and chest pains among all ages during the past week.
In addition, West Midlands Ambulance Service based in Dudley, took an estimated 2,146 calls during last Saturday (December 13) alone, representing a 30 per cent increase for the same period last year.
Dr Patrick Brooke, medical director for Solihull NHs Care Trust in Union Road, is urging people with colds and flu-like symptoms to seek the right treatment for their illness and not to use the Accident and Emergency departments of Solihull Hospital.
“There has been a tremendous health service response to this unprecedented demand,” he said. “GPs and community services staff have made a concerted effort to deal with the high level of demand and help to relieve the pressure on local hospitals.
“One of the main problems recently is a flu-like illness, the Norovirus which causes respiratory problems, sickness and diarrhoea. This has hit old people particularly hard. While NHS staff are always there to help, there is a lot people can do for themselves and their families to avoid becoming ill or having accidents.”
Any members of the public with flu-like symptoms are advised to take plenty of rest, consume hot drinks and plenty of fluid, wear extra layers of warm clothing, stay at home, wash their hands regularly and use their local GP or pharmacy for treatment and advice.
Rob Ashford, chief operating officer for West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “Staff in all parts of the NHS are working tremendously hard to ensure patients get the correct treatment but we need the public to help by accessing the right part of the NHS. If it is not an emergency, please do not go to A&E or dial 999.”
More detailed information and advice is available in Solihull NHS care Trust’s Winter Booklet or via the website at www.solinet.nhs.uk.