Published Tuesday 13 December 2022 at 15:08
People who need medical attention are being reminded to think about the right service to use to help reduce the amount time they spend waiting to be seen.
Data from the last three months (August-October) highlighted that hundreds of people attended A&E at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital when alternatives would have been quicker and more appropriate for them.
Key reasons for attending the emergency department included fractures and sprains to ankles, feet and knees, which could have been more easily treated at the Minor Injuries Unit at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital or Burnley Urgent Treatment Centre.
Dr Georgina Robertson, Clinical Lead for Emergency Medicine for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“It is not uncommon for us to have up to 100 people waiting for treatment within our Emergency Department and prioritising the most urgent conditions can mean extremely long waits for less serious injuries or illnesses.
We know this can be frustrating for people and while we are working really hard to see people as quickly as possible, we are also asking communities to work with us and make the right choice for their health care.
Before attending the Emergency Department, please think is this the right choice for me? There are a range of options for healthcare treatment available.”
Abdul Razaq, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen commented:
“Winter is one of the most challenging times for health and care services and A&E departments in particular.
It is important that we choose the right care at the right place by accessing healthcare services by calling NHS 111 or using online at 111.nhs.uk to get assessed and directed to the right place for medical help. Minor ailments can often be seen in community pharmacies or via your GP surgery.
Not only will this be a huge support to health and care staff but it will likely be more convenient for residents seeking help and advice for their immediate issues. If you think it’s an emergency, don’t delay and you are still advised to call 999 and seek immediate help.”
These options include:
- Telephoning 111 or using 111 online which can ensure that you are directed to the most appropriate place before you leave home and in some circumstances may be able to give you a time to attend one of our departments
- Minor Injuries Units – Our Minor Injuries Units deal with problems such as suspected fractures, cuts, bruises, minor eye problems, burns, scalds, and sprains.
- Urgent Treatment Centres – Our Urgent Treatment Centres are for serious conditions such as suspected broken bones or breathing difficulties which need immediate care but are not life threatening.
- Pharmacy – Your Pharmacy will give you advice on most minor illnesses and you can buy over-the-counter remedies to relieve your symptoms.
- GP Surgery – Your GP practice has a range of health professionals that can now treat many ailments. When your regular GP surgery is closed, and you are too ill to wait for it to re-open, you can access help and support from the ‘GP Out of Hours’ service. To contact the ‘GP Out of Hours’ service, phone free on 111.
- Accident and Emergency (Emergency Department) – if your condition is life threatening.