The deputy chief medical officer for primary and local care at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight has responded to the critical incident declaration across the Hampshire and Isle of Wight health system.

Dr Tim Cooper, GP Partner and deputy chief medical officer for primary and local care at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: "A critical incident remains in place across Hampshire and Isle of Wight amid significant ongoing pressure across all local health services.

"Ambulance services, hospitals, minor injuries units and urgent treatment centres are all affected, as well as GP practices who are also seeing soaring appointment requests alongside staff sickness.

"Health and care teams are working incredibly hard to continue to ensure patients receive safe, high-quality care and continue to prioritise patients according to clinical need.

"This means that some people requesting or calling for non-urgent queries or a routine appointment may currently experience longer waits than we would like.

"We understand that this can be frustrating and thank everyone for their understanding as we work together to tackle this challenging situation.

"We kindly ask you remain respectful of staff, who are working hard to try to help.

"Your NHS remains here for you and patients should continue to attend appointments as planned unless they are contacted to reschedule.

"Nobody should put off seeking urgent or emergency care, but please contact the most appropriate service for your need to ensure you can get the right care in as timely a way as possible.

"Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 can help stop those more vulnerable from both viruses from getting seriously unwell.

"We are seeing a large number of people coming forward with respiratory type illnesses common for this time of year, so anything you can do to keep yourself safe and reduce the spread of this virus will help protect services.

"Ensuring people know where to go for trusted, safe advice on self-care and symptom checking is an important part of supporting access to healthcare, as it reduces the time people who need more urgent or emergency care are asked to wait.

"Apps such as Healthier Together for children and pregnant women, as well as the NHS App, available for free and online, are just two of the ways people can find out how they can help themselves at home with non-urgent conditions or symptoms."