Residents across East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are being urged to use emergency services appropriately and wisely over the Easter bank holiday period.
Many people attend urgent services when it is unnecessary and they could be better treated elsewhere. Making an avoidable visit to the emergency department takes hospital teams away from their role which is to help those with life threatening situations. This includes conditions such as loss of consciousness; persistent, severe chest pain; breathing difficulties and severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.
Doctors from NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG are asking local residents to Think! before attending their nearest emergency department or urgent care centre. If someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is potentially at risk, 999 should be called immediately.
An emergency is a critical or a life-threatening situation, such as:
- Suspected heart attack
- Chest pain
- Heavy blood loss
- Suspected broken bones
- Deep wounds such as stab wounds
- Severe breathing difficulties
- Head injuries
Dr Mike Ions, Chief Clinical Officer at NHS East Lancashire CCG, said: “The demand on our emergency departments is increasing putting added pressure on the service. This means it is essential that everyone thinks carefully before visiting emergency departments. There are often better alternatives which can help people get the right treatment more easily and quicker.
“We obviously aren’t telling people who are in need of urgent medical attention not to attend our emergency departments but ask people to consider whether they actually need to go or could be seen and treated elsewhere.”
Coughs colds, sore throats, vomiting and other minor ailments such as sprains, do not necessarily require a trip to a local urgent care centre. Self-care could often be the first port of call in these instances, but help and advice for such illnesses can be sought from elsewhere should people require it.
Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, added: “Pharmacists and the NHS 111 service are excellent alternatives that people can contact should they need any advice on things such as coughs, colds, vomiting and minor ailments. Pharmacists are experts in medicine and can offer expert help with common complaints and advise when symptoms are more serious that a GP visit maybe necessary.”
Alternatively the NHS 111 service is a free-to-call non-emergency medical helpline offering health advice and information service which people may wish to use as the first point of contact with NHS services. The 111 adviser will be able to:
- decide what medical help you need
- tell you where you need to go to get this medical help
- transfer your call to the service you need, or book an appointment for you, if possible
Simply dial 111 at any time day or night or visit NHS 111 at www.nhs.uk/111
For further information please contact the media team at NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU on 01772 214104.