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Using A&E

Please Avoid Unnecessary Use of A&E - Can our surgery help you?

When Should A&E be Used?

Examples of when it is right and appropriate to attend A&E without delay are:

  • Major injuries such as injuries from road traffic accidents.
  • Falls from a considerable height.
  • Major head injuries.
  • Collapse.
  • Severe breathing difficulty.
  • Severe chest pain.
  • Severe haemorrhage.
  • Poisoning.
  • Extensive burns.
  • Suspected stroke (see our section on what to do if you suspect a stroke)

When it is Inappropriate to Use A&E Services?

Unfortunately, many people attend A&E with very minor problems. This makes it difficult for A&E staff to deal with the volume of cases, involves delays for patients and incurs some considerable costs. The following are examples of minor problems for which A&E attendance in not appropriate. Generally, if the person is unwell, but alert and speaking without impaired consciousness or severe breathing difficulty, then they do not need to attend:

  • Flu-like illnesses, coughs, earache, back ache.
  • Sore throats.
  • Minor breathlessness or wheezing.
  • Abdominal pain (unless extreme or associated with collapse).
  • Urinary difficulties (unless completely unable to pass water).
  • Vaginal bleeding (unless very heavy and associated with faintness).
  • Rashes (unless it appears like spontaneous bleeding under the skin or the person appears very unwell).
  • Backache.
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Simple bites and stings.
  • Social problems.
  • Emergency contraception.
  • Dental problems (except major trauma).

Such conditions can generally be safely managed by your GP, Practice Nurse and in some cases the individual themselves.

Alternatives to Attending A&E - General Practice

We are open between 8.00am and 6.30pm (7.30pm on a Monday) and provide comprehensive services. Emergency same day appointments are available for urgent problems with both the GPs and our prescribing nurses. We urge patients to avoid unnecessary use of A&E and to contact the practice in the first instance. When we are closed you can call the surgery number and be put through to the out of hours service or call the NHS 111 service for advice.



 
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