If you visit A&E with minor problems such as those in the following list, you will almost certainly be wasting NHS resources;
-coughs and colds
-aches and pains arising from old injuries
-queries about your medication
However, it would be appropriate to go to A&E with any of the following;
-cuts which will not stop bleeding or may need stitches to heal properly
-burns which are large, or deep, and need dressings
-limb injuries which are painful or swollen and could be caused by a broken bone
-serious medical problems such as chest pain, collapse, or heavy blood loss.
We realise that there are times when it might not be clear as to what you should do and all we ask is that you think carefully about the situation and consider the alternatives to A&E first. Everyone has a responsibility to recognise the financial consequences of using A&E when other services could meet their needs just as well.
Alternatives to attending A&E include;
Self-care - With a well-stocked medicine cabinet and some first aid supplies you can tackle many of the common winter illnesses such as coughs and colds or minor cuts and bruises yourself.
Pharmacies - Your local pharmacist can offer you free, qualified health advice at any time, and no appointment is necessary. From coughs and colds to aches and pains and other minor ailments they can give you expert help and answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines.
GP surgery - Your GP surgery can offer you advice on long term illnesses that have flared up, old injuries or joint pains that have worsened, minor medical complaints such as skin conditions, and general feelings of poorliness that are worrying you and could need further investigation. They can also help you with emotional problems like depression.
Out-of-hours GP service - If you require a GP outside of normal opening hours, please contact the GP out-of-hours service on 111. The service is available Mondays to Fridays between 6.30pm and 8am, and 24 hours a day on weekends and bank holidays.
The service can be contacted using the new 111 number. Please note that this service is only for patients whose condition cannot safely wait until the next working day on which the practice is open and who need advice or treatment from a doctor or nurse.
Internet advice - Can help to signpost you to local services appropriate to you. Try http://www.nhs.uk/