Senior medic urges people not to go for 'long runs' as NHS is crippled by A&E waiting times

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales is urging people not to go on 'long runs' to reduce the risk of calling emergency services
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales is urging people not to go on 'long runs' to reduce the risk of calling emergency services
James Manning
Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler

Published: 03/01/2023

- 18:15

Updated: 03/01/2023

- 19:11

A NHS chief has warned people not to take part in specific activities to reduce pressure on emergency services

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has warned people to avoid specific activities in an attempt to bring down the risk of having to call the emergency services.

Those activities include going on long runs.

Sir Frank Atherton is urging people to avoid putting excessive demands on medical services as ambulances face long queues to admit patients to hospital.

Figures from NHS England show that last month, around 37,837 patients waited more than 12 hours in A&E for a decision to be admitted to a hospital department.

File photo dated 07/01/21 of staff nurses on a hospital ward. The pressure on the NHS is %22intolerable and unsustainable%22, medics have said, amid warnings that the deaths of up to 500 people each week could be caused by delays in emergency care. It comes after more than a dozen NHS trusts and ambulance services declared critical incidents over the festive period, with officials citing rising flu cases and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic among the reasons for the pressure on the health service. Issue date: Monday January 2, 2023.
NHS: Emergency departments are facing pressure with long queues for A&E
Victoria Jones

Several NHS Trusts have also declared critical incidents in recent days.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales said: “The health and care system is under such pressure – it’s the busiest I’ve ever seen it.

“We are asking people to behave sensibly, don’t put themselves at risk, don’t put others at risk, look after each other when you’re out and about, don’t drink too much and don’t get into trouble.

“This is not the time to be putting yourself at risk with dangerous activities, anything that increases the risk to you in person, given the fact we do have delays to ambulance services, and they really can only meet the needs of the most seriously ill.”

He added that there are specific activities people should avoid.

“Now is not the time to be going out and starting to do a huge long run. We want people to get fit and active in the new year, of course we do, but do it sensibly, think about pacing yourself, about not taking on too much all at once,” he said.

Pressures on the NHS are set to get worse if nurses and ambulance workers carry out further strikes this month following threats of industrial action over a pay dispute.

Ambulances outside the Royal London Hospital in east London. Ambulance staff in England and Wales walked out on Wednesday, following action by nurses on Tuesday, with the NHS braced for extra pressure as a knock-on effect of the industrial action. Picture date: Thursday December 22, 2022.
More strikes by nurses and ambulance workers could put more pressure on the NHS
James Manning

Sir Frank told the BBC: “Watch out for your loved ones, make sure that people are kept safe, particularly the elderly at this time of year, that they are well hydrated at home, because people can get dehydrated very quickly and we know that elderly people who get dehydrated then run into problems with frailty, they have falls, they need to be brought to hospital.

“So we can look after each other and look after ourselves and keep the NHS capacity for those who really need it.”

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