Not all accidents are emergencies

14 December 2012

Sherwood Forest Hospitals is asking people who suffer minor accidents or illness this winter to think about whether they really need to go to the Emergency Department or if they would get more appropriate treatment at another NHS facility. 

Hospitals can get especially busy during winter when viruses such as flu and Norovirus are circulating, and slips and trips are common.  Choosing the right NHS service will not only help ease the pressure on the Emergency Department staff but may also result in quicker treatment.

Dr Nabeel Ali, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said: "It is important that people reflect on their use of the Emergency Department - everyone can play a significant role in helping to ease the burden by assessing their own needs.

"If you feel your case is an emergency, then you must attend the Emergency Department. Significant illnesses or injuries such as suspected broken bones, chest pain, blackouts, difficulty breathing or blood loss are classed as emergencies.

"Very minor accidents and illnesses which don't need emergency treatment include bruises, grazes, the common cold, and young, fit people who have flu or winter vomiting bug.  Those suffering these should take advice from their GP, local pharmacist or out of hours service in the first instance".

The GP out of hours service can be accessed during evenings, weekends and bank holidays.  If you need to use this service, please ring for an appointment by dialling your usual GP surgery telephone number.  The out of hours centre, which is also a 24 hour a day, seven day a week walk in centre, is located alongside the Emergency Department at King's Mill Hospital and is easily recognisable by the Primary Care 24 sign.

Local pharmacies can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illness and complaints, and NHS Direct can also provide health advice, information and reassurance 24 hours a day - call 0845 4647, or visit the website http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/

Dr Ali continued: "Up to one out of every four people who go to the Emergency Department could have either self-treated or used an alternative local service, avoiding what could have been a stressful visit to hospital.

"We're asking people to think carefully about whether this service is really the best place for their condition.

"We are also asking people to stay safe during cold snaps.  Anyone who is particularly vulnerable to freezing temperatures such as the elderly should stay indoors.  Roads and pavements become treacherous which means slips, trips and falls are more likely.

ENDS

Issued by the Trust's Communications Department

Telephone: 01623 672294 for further information/interviews/photographs