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2 December 2013, 19:04
The QA hospital in Portsmouth's having to take action because too many people are turning up at A&E when they don't need to.
Hospital GPs are working alongside consultants and nurses in the Emergency Department to deal with patients who aren't in a serious enough condition.
Dr Jim Hogan, the clinical lead for the three CCGs, said:
"Like everywhere else in the country, the number of patients presenting at ED at Queen Alexandra Hospital has considerably increased over the years, putting at times a huge strain on the staff who work there.
"We know that around 40% of patients who present at ED don't actually require any treatment - and we also know that a high percentage of patients could be far more appropriately treated elsewhere by the NHS.
"We need to remove that additional pressure from the Emergency Department and the consultants, doctors and nurses working there to help the patients who most need it.
"The Emergency Department is not a place for people to come if they have a sore throat, headache, hangover or they want advice about something health-related.
"That is why we have the NHS 111 service, which is working very well in this region. Anyone who needs advice or is unsure about who to turn to for help within the NHS should call 111 - and they should certainly do so before heading to QA, unless they have an emergency condition or have had an accident.
"Anyone who is using ED inappropriately is going to have had a wasted trip if they feel it is a place that they can use a short-cut to get treatment from a doctor or nurse.
"They will be given advice on where else they can go for the most appropriate help and re-directed to that service. ED must remain a place for the patients who most need the excellent care provided there."
The Urgent Care Centre will assess the patient and then direct them to the most appropriate service including:
* their own GP
* a pharmacy
* the minor injuries units at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and St Mary's Community Health Campus or the walk-in centres at Petersfield and Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, Portsmouth.
The CCGs and PHT will evaluate the Urgent Care Centre in a few months time to determine if it has made a difference.