NHS in Easter A&E warning to patients


- Credit: Archant

Weston’s A&E is not the place to go for minor ailments over Easter

That is the message being made by health professionals this week in an effort to cut the number of unnecessary visits to the emergency department which slows treatment times for those most in need.

With GP practices closed on bank holidays, appointments with doctors can be in short supply.

Phil Walmsley, Weston Area Health NHS Trust’s director of operations, said: “Last year we had 85 people visit us who did not require significant treatment during the Easter period.

“This year we urge people to consider if the emergency department is the right place for your healthcare and to reduce the waiting times here at Weston.”

Pharmacists and other hospitals can yield better results.

Hannah Braine, divisional lead for urgent care at North Somerset Community Partnership, said: “Our minor injury unit in Clevedon will be open 8am-8.30pm every day over the Easter weekend.

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“You don’t need an appointment and we treat children over 12 months as well as adults. Our waiting times are usually much shorter than at your local A&E. We aim to see people within two hours and children are dealt with as a priority.

“Our specialist emergency nurse practitioners treat minor injuries such as cuts, wounds, minor burns and broken bones.”

A visit to A&E unnecessarily can have an impact on doctors’ care for more seriously ill patients.

Dr Lesley Ward, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s clinical lead for unplanned care, said: “Easter is traditionally a very busy time of year for emergency services, when closures at GP practices and some pharmacies can leave some people unsure about where to go for help.

“However, many services remain open during this period to provide you with the medical support you need, without the need to spend long periods of time waiting at A&E for treatment.

“Some pharmacies will be open and can dispense medicine on prescription, help you manage long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma and give you advice on medication and staying healthy.

“If you are unsure which healthcare service best meets your needs, you can dial 111 at any time for professional healthcare advice.

“As well as being treated more quickly, this will ensure A&Es can focus on treating people with serious and life-threatening conditions.”