HEALTH bosses are pleading with patients with minor ailments to stop clogging up the emergency department at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital.

The appeal comes after doctors with Taunton Deane GP Federation and A&E consultants concluded one in five visits were unnecessary.

Taunton and Wellington area GPs area are to hand out leaflets advising people of the best treatment options depending on their illness or injury.

Federation chairman Dr Will Chandler said: “Patients aren’t to blame for not knowing where to get advice and treatment for their minor injury or ailments.

“But the district hospital’s A&E department is still seeing too many people who could have had quicker and more convenient treatment if they had asked for advice from their local pharmacist, seen their GP or called the new 111 health helpline.

“The easy-to-read leaflet we are soon to distribute explains the options available to the public if they become ill.

“Some people just need to stop and ask themselves – is A&E the right place for me?

“Our leaflet can help you make better decisions as well as offering helpful telephone numbers to signpost you to local health services that best meet your needs.

“Make sure you keep the leaflet by your telephone – you never know when you might need it.”

To view an on-line copy of the leaflet being distributed next month, click on the Somerset Commissioning Group related link on this story.

*If you or a family member is experiencing severe chest pain, the symptoms of stroke, heavy bleeding, broken bones or unconsciousness you should telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.