Did you know that one in five visits to A&E are for minor conditions, such as coughs, colds, muscular pain or allergies, which could be managed safely and effectively at home or with advice from a pharmacist? Locally, around 300 people a day attend A&E at East Surrey Hospital. With the winter season upon us it is important to remember the choice of places open should you need help because you are unwell or injured. Details of walk-in centres in your area can be found here.
Dr Elango Vijaykumar, a local GP and Chair of East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group said people should think before going to A&E for minor injuries and illnesses. “There are other health services in East Surrey that can provide quicker and more appropriate treatment if you have a minor injury or ailment,” he said.
“If you haven’t got a life threatening illness or injury you should make an appointment with your GP. If your GP practice is closed, you can call NHS 111 for free, 24 hours a day, or visit our web app Health Help Now to find the right service for you.
“Many people forget that their local pharmacists are trained clinicians who can provide expert advice on how to help manage illnesses, as well as providing guidance on the best treatments.” he said.
Michael Wilson, chief executive at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust who run East Surrey Hospital, said: “It’s important to remember that A&E is for serious emergencies only – hospitals are very busy places all year round, especially in winter, with A&E staff dealing with life threatening emergencies, like strokes and heart attacks. If you become ill over the winter it is important to think about which local health services is right for you – rather than just going straight to A&E and help us to ensure everyone gets the care they need.”
Alternative NHS services available to East Surrey, Crawley and Horsham residents:
Health Help Now – the web app is available at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net and will quickly help you to find the best place for treatment and advice
Self-care – people suffering from minor ailments such as grazes, hangovers and allergies should treat themselves at home or visit their local pharmacy
Pharmacies – your local pharmacist is qualified to offer advice on health issues and medication as well as treat headaches, an upset stomach and other common illnesses
NHS 111 – NHS 111 is a free phone service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It offers a one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms
Walk-in centre – with no appointment necessary your local walk-in centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks. Full details of all the walk-in centres in your area can be found here.
GP out-of-hours service – if you need to see a doctor when your GP surgery is closed, call NHS 111 (dial 111).