Residents across the Chorley and South Ribble are being urged to use emergency services appropriately as the festive period approaches.
Many people go to A&E unnecessarily, when they could be better treated elsewhere. During the winter season this puts extra demands on already pressured emergency departments.
Doctors from NHS Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are asking local residents to Choose Well before attending their nearest emergency department or urgent care center.
If someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk then 999 should be called. An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation, such as a suspected heart attack, severe breathing difficulties, chest pain or head injuries.
However, coughs, colds, sore throats, being sick and other minor ailments such as sprains, do not necessarily require a trip to A&E.
Many minor ailments can be treated safely at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Pharmacists also offer expert help with common complaints and can advise when symptoms require further treatment, from a GP for instance.
Alternatively, the NHS 111 service is a free-to-call non-emergency medical helpline offering health advice and an information service. The 111 adviser will be able to:
- Decide what medical help you need
- Tell you where you need to go to get this medical help
- Transfer your call to the service you need, or book an appointment for you, if possible
Simply dial 111 at any time day or night or visit the NHS 111 website.
Dr Gora Bangi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG said: “During winter our emergency departments are under increased pressure, and even more so over the festive period. This means it is essential that the public think carefully before visiting A&E as there are often better alternatives that can help people get the right treatment more easily and quicker.
“We obviously aren’t telling people who are in need of urgent medical attention not to attend our emergency departments, but are asking people to consider whether they actually need to go or could be seen and treated elsewhere.
“Pharmacists and the NHS 111 service are excellent alternatives that people can contact should they need any advice on things such as coughs, colds, vomiting and minor ailments.
“With the help of local people we can reduce the pressure on our busy urgent care services and ensure those who do need it are treated quickly.”