NHS urges public to take care over the weekend, but get help if they need it

A top NHS expert, and Amazing Spaces television presenter George Clarke, have teamed up to issue three top tips to encourage people to stay safe and avoid DIY or gardening injuries over Easter weekend, whilst also stressing that the NHS is still open for those who do end up needing urgent and emergency care.

The health service normally sees a rise in the number of hospital admissions from DIY enthusiasts at this time of year, with warmer weather on the horizon and bank holidays giving people more time at home.

Last year alone, there were more than 4,800 admissions to hospital wards for injuries from drills and other power tools and nearly 7,000 people ended up in hospital after tumbling from a ladder.

And with even more people now at home for longer doing their bit to halt the spread of coronavirus, and DIY stores reporting record sales as many look to take the opportunity to make home improvements and get their garden ‘summer ready’, the NHS is urging people to take simple steps to reduce the risk of avoidable injuries that would put unnecessary pressure on the NHS.

Andrew Bennett, Consultant Physiotherapist at Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust and NHS National Clinical Director for Musculoskeletal conditions, said: “The public have rightly responded to the expert advice on staying at home to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s good to keep active and busy while you do.

“But we also know that, particularly when the weather gets warmer, activities such as DIY or gardening can result in injuries.

“As doctors, nurses and Allied Health Professionals deal with the greatest global health threat in a century, it’s particularly important to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital right now, which is why you should always take your time, follow instructions, and check the space around you.”

The three top tips in full are:

  • Take your time – Most injuries occur when people take short-cuts or rush. With people now having more time at home, we encourage people to take the time to plan the piece of work and consider the risks seriously.
  • Follow instructions – Always follow the instructions when using power tools or machinery.
  • Check the space – Look for any other potential hazards – it doesn’t take long but can have a huge impact on reducing risk.

Architect, writer and TV presenter George Clarke, said: “It’s fantastic that so many of us are keeping ourselves busy with DIY activities at home over the Easter weekend, which has always been the busiest DIY weekend of the year. But please, please, please be careful.

“The NHS is under massive pressure at the moment tackling COVID-19, so take extra care when doing any DIY work at home to avoid accidents.”

While NHS staff want to reduce the number of people needing care from preventable accidents as much as possible, they are also keen to stress that people who do injure themselves should still come forward for medical attention, and not let worries about catching coronavirus allow problems to get worse.

Andrew Bennett continued: “NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to respond to the biggest global health threat in a century, while also ensuring that people can still access the services they need in as safe a way as possible, and there is still capacity across the country to treat all those needing urgent, emergency and other essential care.

“So while it remains important that the public support staff by staying safe and using the NHS wisely, they should be assured that local services are ready and able to treat all those who need it, so people should still seek medical help before their conditions get worse.”

Alongside gardening injuries, people are being urged to take precautions as they tackle the difficult task of keeping children entertained at home and in the garden.

Toys and play equipment can pose their own risk when it comes to avoidable injuries, so the guidance above applies equally to them too; a study by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine and Oxford University Hospitals Trust estimates that 13,000 trampolining injuries are treated in English accident and emergency departments every year, at an annual cost to the NHS of £1.5 million

Where to turn when you have an urgent or emergency medical need during the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS urgent and emergency care services are still operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

For non-life-threatening emergencies.

If it’s not a life-threatening emergency and you or the person you’re with doesn’t need immediate medical attention, please consider other options before dialling 999.

For example:

  • self care at home
  • using the NHS 111 online service, or calling 111 if you don’t have internet access
  • talking to a pharmacist
  • calling your GP.

Choosing the best service for your needs will ensure the ambulance service is able to respond to the people who need help the most.

For life-threatening emergencies.

Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Medical emergencies can include:

Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.

Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma, such as after a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from a height, or a serious head injury.