Guide to health services in North Somerset on bank holiday

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 August 2016

Weston General Hospital.

Weston General Hospital.

Archant

As the busy August bank holiday arrives tomorrow (Monday), the number of tourists descending on Weston is expected to soar - but so is the number of people using its health services.

What are the facts?

A third of patients presenting at A&E on a bank holiday could have gone elsewhere for their medical advice. Choosing the right service could have saved them time and reduced the potential waiting times for patients presenting at A&E with more serious and life threatening conditions. With an influx of tourists visiting North Somerset over the summer, this figure could rise.

16 per cent of people who come into A&E on a bank holiday arrive for ailments that could be dealt with elsewhere, such as at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), speaking to a pharmacist or GP or calling 111. People have waited at A&E for the following: backache, earache, toothache or tonsillitis; sunburn, excessive alcohol consumption or uncomplicated gastroenteritis; heartburn, repeat prescriptions and headaches.

When children have bumps and bruises from their daytime activities, parents often wait until the end of the day to check at A&E if they are okay. However, they can typically be seen more quickly in our MIU in Clevedon with patients being seen by an Emergency Nurse Practitioner in less than an hour.

Clevedon MIU is open seven days a week from 8am until 9pm and appointments are not required. They treat anyone above the age of three who lives in North Somerset and the surrounding areas.

Four per cent of patients attend A&E with dental pain. Although there is an emergency dentist on site, this is only accessible by calling 111 to make an emergency appointment. A&E cannot treat dental problems so patients presenting with this will wait to be seen only to be referred elsewhere – thus unnecessarily prolonging the time they are in pain.

What are my options?

Self-help is often the best option for very minor ailments. Make sure you have healthcare essentials at home – paracetomol or aspirin, indigestion remedies and plasters for example. Speak to your local pharmacist for advice

The NHS 111 service is also available for people who urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to call from a mobile or landline.

Out-of-hours GP services are available for people who need to see a GP urgently. Dial your local practice for details or call 111 to be put through.

Minor injuries units are available at Southmead Hospital, Clevedon Community Hospital and Yate West Gate centre, offering fast, local treatment of minor injuries such as strains, sprains and broken bones, without a trip to A&E. They are available seven days a week. Dial 111 for details.

Bristol also has a walk-in centre at 59 Broadmead and an urgent care centre at South Bristol Community Hospital, offering the same services as minor injuries units as well as help with minor illnesses and emergency contraception and advice

Remember - A&E and 999 are for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions, such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, severe chest pain, head injuries or a suspected stroke or heart attack. In these circumstances, don’t hesitate – call 999 for immediate assistance.

Beccie Watkins, clinical lead for the emergency department at Weston General Hospital, said: “Bank holiday weekends can see an increase in attendances to our A&E from locals as well as visitors to Weston and North Somerset, which puts the trust’s emergency services under more pressure.”

For more information about what injury may be constituted as an emergency, click here

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