Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is asking people who have had minor accidents or illnesses this winter to think about whether they really need to go to A&E, or if they would get more appropriate treatment at another local NHS service.
Over recent days, the Trust has seen an increase in attendance in its A&E units of more than 15 per cent and, as winter sets in and seasonal illnesses like flu and tummy bugs begin to circulate, this figure is expected to rise even further.
Dr Karen Stone, the Trust’s Interim Medical Director, said: “It is really important that people use our A&E services wisely. We need to make sure that our A&E services are free to help the people who really need them. Most people who are generally fit and healthy don’t need A&E or 999 when they have a minor illness or injury.
“Accessing more suitable healthcare could result in being you being seen quicker and closer to home.
“Demand on emergency services increases dramatically during the winter months, so it is important that patients consider the full range of health services available to them. These alternatives include GP surgeries, NHS 111, walk-in centres and high street pharmacies.”
As local GPs urging people to use A&E services responsibly, Dr David Kelly, chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“A&E only deals with real emergencies and saving lives. We should only be using it for serious illness like choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures. So please stop and think which service is right for your needs.”
GP appointments are available on Saturday and Sunday mornings in North Kirklees. To access the service call 01924 351499 between 8am and 11.30am each weekend.
Dr Phil Earnshaw, Chair of Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Emergency services such as A&E and Yorkshire Ambulance Service are on the front line of our health care and we need to make sure that everyone knows when to use them – and when to use an alternative.
“A&E and the 999 ambulance service are for serious emergencies. The NHS has a full range of other services to help people including; the 111 service, NHS Choices on line, your local GP, your community pharmacy and the Walkin Centre on Kings Street.
“If everybody uses the right service for them it means that the A&E service can focus on those in most need”.
If you feel it’s not a 999 emergency, but you need medical help fast, dial NHS 111. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Your local high-street pharmacy can also help you deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains. Alternatively, to find out where your local NHS services are, go to www.nhs.uk and use the service finder.