As there is currently significant pressure across all health and care settings, the local NHS is urging people to do their bit and do all they can to help.

Rachel Eastham, matron for emergency care at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) said:

“The public can really help us by doing very simple things, if you need to access our services; be that an appointment or our A&E department, please come to the department alone. Unless you need support or are the parent / guardian of a child who requires treatment you should not bring others with you into the hospital. This is because as a health care setting we need to maintain the highest levels of infection prevention standards on our sites including social distancing.

“We have seen people bring whole families with them to A&E, and with the increase in the infection rate in the community the more people who come to our sites unnecessarily the more likely we are to bring the virus in.”

We are also urging everyone to take steps to stop the transmission of the virus which is increasing nationally and locally. While the Trust continues to prioritise the most urgent patients those with less urgent needs are advised to seek advice from their GP, an urgent treatment centre, a pharmacist or NHS 111 online first.

Dr Craig Melrose, clinical director for A&E at NCIC said: “We are seeing an increase in the numbers of patients with COVID in our hospitals. The numbers remain low but have doubled in a week and we must understand the risk this poses.

“Healthcare services remain open but the increase in transmission rates is having a direct effect on how we can deliver them. We are trying our best but please be aware that across our services we are prioritising the sickest people first and for some people this may mean you are waiting longer than we would like to get treatment or support.

“Finally I urge everyone to please be kind to our staff, we are all working incredibly hard and I promise you we are trying our best. It isn’t acceptable to verbally abuse anyone let alone those who are trying to help you.”

We urge everyone to do all they can to stop the spread – the virus can only be spread by us it cannot spread itself. Washing hands, wearing masks and keeping your distance will help.