Public urged to only visit A&E if ‘absolutely necessary’ as NHS pressures continue
Health leaders in Norfolk and Waveney are taking urgent action to urge the public to keep A&E free for serious emergencies only.
With pressure mounting on local NHS services, the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system is asking the public not to just to turn up to A&E but to think NHS 111 first or visit their local pharmacy or contact their GP.
The urgent plea is aimed at raising awareness of alternative services available for people needing urgent medical advice and treatment.
Melanie Craig, Chief Executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The message is clear, please do not go to A&E if it’s not a serious emergency.
“Alternative treatment options are available and finding the right service for you may be quicker and closer to home. A&E is there to deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies.”
The best way to get the medical help you need is to think NHS 111 first. Phone NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk for anything that feels urgent, or if you are unsure what to do. They can direct you to the most appropriate place and even book you a time slot for a GP consultation or A&E if necessary. In life-threatening emergencies dial 999.
Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. If your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they will direct you to the right service.
The NHS Walk-In Centre at Rouen House on Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. The nurse-led centre can help with a range of minor illness and injuries, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, skin complaints etc. You will be triaged at the front door and then treated or signposted elsewhere if necessary.
The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) based at Cromer Hospital on Mill Road is open seven days-a-week, including Bank Holidays, from 8am to 7.45pm. Patients can receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures. The unit is able to advise over the phone if your injury is suitable for the MIU, please call 01603 646230.
If you need urgent mental health support, please call First Response on 0808 196 3494. First Response are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “Local health services continue to be very busy and staff in every area are continuing to work incredibly hard to make sure that everyone receives the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
“With COVID-19 cases rising and winter ahead, it is more important than ever that we don’t have large volumes of people in our surgeries, clinics and hospitals when they could have been cared for elsewhere.
“By thinking of alternative services such as NHS 111 and local pharmacies people can do their bit to help stop the spread of COVID-19, keep people safe and keep A&E for real emergencies. At the same time this also means they will get the right treatment in a timely manner, in the most appropriate place for them too.
“So please don’t turn up or walk into A&E or urgent care services without seeking advice from either NHS 111, GP or pharmacist, first – unless your condition is life threatening.
A&E services in Norfolk and Waveney are available for the following conditions:
- loss of consciousness
- acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
- chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
- major trauma such as a road traffic accident
If you or any member of your household has coronavirus symptoms, please do not attend any NHS services in-person – call NHS 111 if you need urgent care or don’t know what to do.
Further guidance on when you should go to A&E can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/when-to-go-to-ae/