Doctors’ plea: Avoid A&E

Lancaster Guardian - Letters - RLI
Lancaster Guardian - Letters - RLI

The A&E department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is “very busy, but coping” with the high volume of patients.

However, doctors across Morecambe and Lancaster have urged people to avoid using A&E unless they have had an accident or are suffering from a serious condition.

The wintry weather, coupled with the long Christmas break, are adding to the pressure on the hospital’s A&E.

Doctors are keen to remind people of the services available to them and encourage them to choose the most appropriate one.

The options available to the people of Lancashire north are:

n Self care – for treatment of minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. A range of common illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, diarrhoea and sickness can normally be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.

n NHS Choices website – this is a very helpful source of information on a wide variety of illnesses, it is available at any time of the day and gives information about local services

n Pharmacy – for confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints

n Your GP – For illnesses and injuries that won’t go away

n NHS Same Day services in Morecambe - for access to a range of treatment for minor illnesses and injuries that don’t need a trip to hospital

n111 – the new 24hrs a day, 7 days a week phone number which will guide you to the most appropriate option if you need medical attention.

n A&E – for people in a critical/life-threatening situation.

Dr Jeremy Marriott, local GP and NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) lead for urgent care, said: “By choosing the right service at the right time, people will be seen a lot quicker and reduce the pressure on A&E departments.”

“People attending A&E with injuries or illnesses that are not serious run the risk of diverting attention away from someone who needs urgent help. Your local GP or pharmacist and NHS Same Day services in Morecambe are all available to help you.

“A number of pharmacies in the area will be open over the bank holidays.”

A list of opening times can be found on the CCG website at http://www.lancashirenorthccg.nhs.uk/pharmacy-opening-times/

CCG chairman Dr Alex Gaw said: “At busy times, it is really important that everyone knows when pharmacies will be open. Your local pharmacy can give advice on a wide range of ailments as well as offering advice on managing symptoms.”