Bank Holiday Pressure On A&E

28 May 2011, 08:00 | Updated: 28 May 2011, 08:14

Heart's being told a third of people are going to A&E deparments with a minory injury or illness when they could be looked after somewhere else.

That’s from NHS Suffolk as it encourages people to really think about where they should go for help if they need it.

Lynne Wigens, NHS Suffolk’s chief nurse said: "We already know that too many people who arrive at A&E are there for the treatment of minor injuries and illnesses that could be treated elsewhere.

Turning up at A&E with a minor condition such as a cold or cough, a cut or graze or to get a repeat prescription puts an immense pressure on staff and can delay treatment for those with serious medical conditions.

I would urge people to consider the other options available to them should they be unfortunate enough to need treatment this weekend.

Rather than going to A&E, people who are feeling unwell could ask their local pharmacist for help and advice. There are a number of pharmacies open over the holiday weekend and people should make sure they know the location and opening times of their nearest one.

For medical conditions that can not be treated through consultation with a pharmacist the first course of action should be to call your GP surgery. If the surgery is closed, you will either get put straight through to the out-of-hours service or asked to call the service directly on 0300 130 3066. For urgent dental requirements when your usual dental practice is shut, please ring 0300 130 3065.

Additionally, there are three minor injuries units (MIU) located in Felixstowe (open from 7am-10pm), Ipswich (open from 8am – 10pm) and Haverhill (open 8am – 8pm) These MIUs are a convenient alternative to the A&E department and qualified nurses will treat a wide range of conditions including cuts, sprains, stings and strains (Ipswich can also provide x-ray services) – importantly,  they do not provide repeat prescriptions and should only be used as an appropriate alternative to the A&E department.

Dr Wigens concluded: Finally, don’t forget to make sure your medicine cabinet is fully stocked – that way you won’t even have to leave home to treat most minor illnesses and injuries. A stock of paracetamol, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion remedy and plasters should enable you to deal with most situations."