A FAMILY doctor from Devon has urged people with a non-urgent medical problem to get in touch with their local GP practice or pharmacy rather than visit busy hospital emergency departments.
With the Easter Holidays in full swing and more people getting out and about in the sun, it is usual that hospital emergency departments see an increase in the number of attendees at this time of the year.
Dr David Jenner, a family doctor from Devon and Board member of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said people could help ease the pressure on emergency departments by avoiding using them unless in an emergency.
“If you’re feeling under the weather but it’s not an emergency then rather than travel to a hospital emergency department please consider getting in touch with your local GP or pharmacy,” he said.
“You will potentially avoid a wasted journey by doing this as if you have a non-emergency health complaint that could be better seen outside of hospital then you are most likely to be signposted back to your GP.
“It also takes up clinicians’ time when they could be treating people who really need help in an emergency.”
Every year, the emergency departments (A&E) in Devon see approximately 300,000 patients, a number of which have common illnesses or ailments.
“Many of these patients could have avoided going to the emergency department by getting expert advice and quicker access to treatment from other local NHS services such as local pharmacies or GP practices,” said Dr Jenner.
“Some could have quite safely taken care of themselves with just basic self-care, first aid and advice.
“However if your local surgery is closed and it cannot wait till it reopens, or you are here on holiday, call 111 for healthcare advice or where to find a service to meet your need.”
If you have an urgent medical problem that cannot wait until your surgery reopens you should call NHS 111. Your details will be taken and a clinician will ring you in order to provide the appropriate advice or treatment.
However, if it is an emergency you should not hesitate to call 999 immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.