Examine Your Options This Easter: Patients advised to avoid A and E

Checks on health

With local emergency departments in Liverpool and Merseyside experiencing high volumes of patients seeking treatment, patients are being asked to think carefully before going to A and E this Easter.

The number of people attending local Emergency Departments and calling 999 for an emergency ambulance is putting severe pressure on local health services.

NHS teams are working extremely hard to cope with this demand. However, high demand for services may mean that some patients who attend their local emergency department may have to wait longer than usual before receiving treatment.

With Easter just around the corner and with local GP surgeries closed over the Bank Holiday period, patients are being asked to consider other health services available before they go to A&E, including their local pharmacist, walk-in centre or NHS 111 service.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, GP and Governing Body Member at Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Our main priority is to maintain patient safety and provide the best possible care for patients by ensuring that emergency services are readily available for those patients who need them the most. We want to keep the emergency ambulance service and emergency departments free for patients with serious or life threatening conditions.

“A&E departments are for life threatening or serious conditions, not minor illnesses. We are therefore asking patients with minor ailments to help ease the pressure on local A&E departments by choosing which health service they use wisely.

“If patients need advice, are not sure which service to use or want to find out what is open over Easter, they can contact NHS 111 by dialling 111 or to simply go online at www.nhs.uk to find out more about opening times for local health services.”

If you feel unwell and need medical advice, there are lots of alternative ways to get help and advice, rather than going to A&E. For minor illnesses, you should always make your local GP or pharmacy your first point of contact.

If your local surgery is closed over the holidays, you can still see a local GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just contact your local surgery and your call will be redirected. GP out-of-hours services in Liverpool are provided across the city and the service is open 6.30pm – 8:00am, Monday – Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday.

There are also a few simple steps that people can take to keep well over the Easter period:

• Be prepared for common illnesses like coughs and colds or stomach upsets by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. Your local pharmacist can provide advice on a range of everyday health issues and provide medicines to keep you well.

• Make sure you order any repeat prescriptions through your GP in plenty of time for the bank holiday period. The GP out-of-hours service should not be used to order repeat prescriptions.

For more information about the opening times for local health services, please visit http://www.liverpoolccg.nhs.uk/Health_Services/Live-Well/examine_your_options.aspx