Stop and think before attending A&E
Tuesday 5th February, 2013
People across Sussex are being urged to stop and think before attending A&E.
Everyone is being reminded they should only go to A&E if there is a genuine emergency.
Hospitals across the county are currently seeing large numbers of people attending their Accident and Emergency departments, and are admitting more people than is expected for this time of year.
Dr Andrew Foulkes, Medical Director at NHS Sussex, said: “Every winter there is a rise in the number of people who become unwell and need medical help and treatment.
“We need to make sure that emergency services are available for those who really need them and so while the local NHS works hard to make sure everyone receives the right treatment and support, people across the county need to remember that A&E is an Emergency Department and should be used for very serious and life threatening illnesses and injuries.
“It is important that we all know when to call an ambulance and when to use A&E and when not to, so that we all work together to keep the services free for the people who really need them.
“The teams at A&E are there for patients and their families whenever there is an emergency, and it is important that we know that some conditions and common ailments such as coughs, colds and earaches do not need to be treated at hospital and can be dealt with more effectively by GPs or by asking a local pharmacist for help."
From the thousands of people who have been seen and treated at an A&E in Sussex so far this winter, it’s estimated hundreds of those patients could have been treated more appropriately elsewhere.
It is important people across the county are aware of the range of NHS services that are available to ensure that they can receive the fastest, most effective and most appropriate treatment if they need it.
Many visits to A&E could be treated more quickly and more appropriately by another NHS service.
Many common complaints, such as backache, minor sports injuries, stomach upsets, coughs and colds, flu and sore throats can be treated by obtaining advice from your GP, phoning NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or by visiting a GP Walk in Centre, minor injury unit or urgent treatment centre, where no appointment is required.
The out of hours GP service can also provide help, support and treatment when your GP practice is closed.
Traditionally winter months see an increase in coughs, colds and flu like symptoms, which can all be alleviated with over the counter remedies, available from local pharmacies.
Keep your medicine cabinet stocked up so you are prepared if you fall ill from a cold, cough or flu.
Dr Foulkes added: “There are cases of sickness and diarrhoea in the community and I would encourage anyone suffering from these conditions to stay at home and away from the hospitals. It can easily be passed onto vulnerable patients and staff.
“Anyone with these symptoms should stay at home, rest, wash your hands regularly, drink lots of water and stay warm. If symptoms persist, or if there are other conditions or concerns, contact your GP, the out of hours GP service or phone NHS Direct.”
What services are available?
Your local pharmacist can help by being able to advise on a number of different ailments such as cough, sore throat, skin rash, diarrhoea (and/or) vomiting, constipation, headache, and eye conditions. To find your nearest pharmacy, visit www.nhs.uk Check your pharmacy window for out of hours opening times.
Out of Hours GP service
If you need urgent medical advice or treatment when your GP practice is closed, you can call the out of hours service.You will be given advice over the telephone of given an urgent appointment with a nurse of a doctor at an out of hours GP practice. This service is not for repeat prescriptions, test results or routine appointments.
- If you are in West Sussex call 0300 130 1313.
- If you are in East Sussex or Brighton and Hove call 03000 24242424.
Walk in Centres, Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment Centres
There are a number of NHS services available across Sussex where you can get medical help and treatment and you do not need to register or make an appointment. Find out more from NHS Direct.