Avoid A&E unless absolutely necessary

Patients are reminded 999 is reserved for life threatening emergencies
Patients are reminded 999 is reserved for life threatening emergencies
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With it being the October half-term this week, healthcare professionals are reminding the public how to access urgent care if necessary.

During school holidays, pressures on Blackburn Accident and Emergency increases substantially, creating longer waiting times and putting more demands on emergency staff.

In the past few years waiting times at A&Es have increased significantly. Between 2011/2012 and 2016/2017, visits to A&Es across the UK increased by 1.7 percent each year. In some circumstances A&E 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.

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 A&E to avoid long waiting times. Other options for medical help include NHS 111 which is available 24/7, local pharmacists and the NHS website. 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.”

Patients are reminded 999 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. By seeking out help from NHS 111 and pharmacies among other resources, patients can avoid spending a large chunk of their day in A&E 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 www.nhs.uk

· Minor Injury Unit – Accrington 8am to 8-30pm (Accrington Victoria Community Hospital), 7 days a week;

· Urgent Care – 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/