Choose better to keep A&E free for emergencies

People are being urged to think carefully about the most appropriate place to go for treatment if they become unwell to ease the pressure on A&E. There has been an increase in the number of people being admitted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro, which is affecting how it operates.

It’s important that people help by playing a part and taking greater control of their health.

By acting quickly before minor ailments such as coughs, colds, rashes and wheezing set in, and accessing the right healthcare service first time, people can help keep themselves well and A&E free to treat those most in need.

NHS Kernow Governing Body member Dr Iain Chorlton said: “A&E is under pressure due to the significant demand – the whole system is working together to ensure that the situation is resolved and that patients continue to receive high levels of care.

“People can help us by considering the most appropriate place to be seen or treated for their condition. Some people are coming to A&E when they don’t need to. An inappropriate visit there is time consuming for the patient and the staff – putting a strain on NHS resources – as well as delaying care for those who really need it urgently.

“Our message is simple – if it’s not a serious medical emergency, A&E is not the right choice.

“If you do fall ill, there are a range of services to help you make the right choice about where to go for health advice or the right treatment, such as your GP, pharmacist, local minor injury unit or dentist.” 

People can visit their pharmacist for confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common minor illnesses and complaints such as allergies, minor cuts, bruises and skin conditions - they're experts in helping patients look after their health.

During winter, patients – particularly those who are elderly or frail and suffering from an existing condition – are encouraged to seek help and advice from their pharmacist as soon as they become ill because if conditions are ignored, they can quickly become much worse.

Other services include:

  • The NHS 111 service for non-emergency medical help. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed by fully trained advisors and experienced clinicians. You can also visit the Cardrew Walk In Centre in Redruth from 8am to 8pm for treatment of cuts, bruises, minor infections, stomach upsets, strains and skin complaints, without an appointment. Phone 01209 340997.
  • Minor injuries units in Cornwall can deal with ailments like cuts and sprains‎. Details available online here.
  • For serious medical emergencies, such as chest pain, stroke, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding, severe breathing difficulties, major broken bones and serious head injuries, go to A&E or dial 999.