The October half term is fast approaching and doctors in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are reminding the public to choose wisely and how to access urgent care if necessary.
During the school holidays, pressures on the emergency department and urgent care centres increases substantially, creating longer waiting times and putting more demands on emergency staff.
In some circumstances the emergency department or urgent care centre may not be the most appropriate place to receive treatment. If you become unwell make sure you choose the right healthcare service to receive treatment. Patients are reminded the emergency department is reserved for life threatening emergencies such as severe injury or severe illness such as breathing difficulties, suspected stroke or severe and persistent chest pains.
Dr David White, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care NHS Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancs Clinical Commissioning Groups said:
“It is recommended that patients with non-emergency medical concerns seek out other forms of help before visiting our hospital urgent care centres to avoid long waiting times. Other options for medical help include local pharmacists, NHS 111 which is available 24/7 and the NHS website. There is also 111 online: https://111.nhs.uk/. In addition, GP appointments can be made for more serious, but non-emergency, medical concerns with GP extended access now available by calling your usual GP number.”
By seeking out help from NHS 111 and pharmacies among other resources means patients can avoid spending a large chunk of their day in hospital during the October half term and enjoy their time off.
Apart from GPs and NHS 111, other local options include:
- Self-care – treat minor illness and injury at home using a well-stocked stocked medicine cabinet.
- Community Pharmacy – visit for expert advice and treatment for minor ailments. Find local pharmacies along with opening hours at nhs.uk
- Minor Injury Unit – Accrington 8am to 8.30pm (Accrington Victoria Community Hospital), 7 days a week; Rossendale 8am to 8pm (Rossendale Primary Health Care Centre), 7 days a week
- Urgent Care Centre – Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General Hospital, both 24/7
You can find more information on urgent and emergency care online at https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/