Think! Why A&E? encourages people to choose the right NHS service for them and their families according to their symptoms.
It reinforces the crucial message that A&E is for emergencies and life-threatening illnesses only, such as:
• Suspected heart attack
• Chest pain
• Heavy blood loss
• Suspected broken bones
• Deep wounds such as stab wounds
• Severe breathing difficulties
• Head injuries
If someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk then 999 should be called.
Many people attend emergency service departments with minor ailments which could be better treated elsewhere. This puts extra demands on already pressured emergency departments, particularly during the winter period.
Coughs colds, sore throats, vomiting and other minor ailments such as sprains, do not necessarily require a trip to see a health professional. There is a range of alternative and more appropriate treatment options, such as:
• Self care – Minor illnesses, ailments and injuries can be treated at home. Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.
• Pharmacy – Pharmacists offer a range of health services. As well as dispensing prescriptions and other medicines, your pharmacy can provide free confidential expert advice and treatment for a variety of common illnesses and complaints, without having to book a GP appointment. You can find your nearest pharmacy by visiting the ‘services near you’ section of www.nhs.uk.
• NHS 111 – This is a free telephone service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should call 111 if you urgently need medical help or information, but your situation is not life-threatening. When you dial 111, you will be directed to the best local services to make sure you get fast and effective treatment.
• Same day centres – These centres provide consultations, guidance and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, as well as emergency contraception and sexual health advice.
• GP surgery – If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, and when absolutely essential, can make home visits. If you need to see a GP outside of the surgery’s normal opening hours, telephone the surgery and your call will be forwarded to the GP out-of-hours service.
Think! Why A&E is a campaign running on the Fylde Coast