Stop! Think… Keep Accident and Emergency clear for real emergencies

A new powerful county-wide campaign launches today highlighting the need to keep Gloucestershire’s two Accident and Emergency Departments clear for real emergencies.

A&E is extremely busy this time of year, and the doctors and nurses there need to focus on people with life threatening conditions or serious injuries.

The campaign also highlights the different healthcare options available across Gloucestershire so people can access the right care for them and ease the pressure on A&E.

If you are unwell, Stop! Think… before you head to A&E and, if it’s not an emergency, you can:

  • Visit your pharmacy for minor ailments and health advice
  • Call your GP surgery if it’s an illness that won’t go away or an urgent medical need
  • Phone NHS 111 when your GP surgery is closed
  • Try the ASAP Glos NHS App or visit asapglos.nhs.uk – the App and website guide you through your healthcare options. You can find information on how to look after yourself and which service to call on when needed, including the Gloucester GP Health Access Centre and Community Minor Injury and Illness Units.

Last year, there were more than 29,000 visits to A&E in Gloucestershire for ailments which could have been safely treated elsewhere.

Dr Mark Pietroni, Consultant in Emergency Care and Specialty Director for Unscheduled Care at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“On behalf of my colleagues in our A&E departments we are asking for the public’s support to only access A&E if the condition is serious or life-threatening.

Winter is our busiest time of the year when we do treat a lot of seriously ill patients. However, we have a high number of patients who access our services who could be treated elsewhere – quite often in a more timely and effective way.

That’s why we have launched this powerful campaign which we hope will get our message across.”

Dr Jeremy Welch, local GP and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body lead for Tewkesbury, Newent and Staunton, said:

Stop! Think……is a strong campaign that is both highly engaging and memorable. At the same time it has a positive message about the advice and support that is available countywide.

When we fall ill, we just want to get the help we need as soon as possible. If people are not seriously injured or have a life-threatening condition, there are a range of healthcare options which often mean quicker and more convenient advice and care.

If you have a minor ailment, such as a bad cough or cold, why not pop down to your local pharmacy for advice and treatment. They are highly qualified medical professionals and can also advice you on whether you need to call or visit another service. No appointment is needed.

If you have an illness that won’t go away or have a more urgent medical need, then call your GP surgery.

Thousands more GP surgery appointments are being made available this year in Gloucestershire, including in the daytime, evening and weekends to help patients get seen quicker, but if you need urgent advice or care when the surgery is closed, call NHS 111.”

For treatment 7 days a week (8am to 8pm), you can visit the Gloucester GP Health Access Centre which is open from 8am to 8pm. The doctors there provide a wide range of GP care and also treat minor injuries.

It provides a walk in service, but patients are seen on an appointment basis and so it’s best to call in advance on 01452 336290.

Susan Field, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “There are minor injury and illness units at each of our seven community hospitals across the county, which treat adults and children. You don’t need an appointment and the opening times are available at asapglos.nhs.uk or via the ASAP app.

If you have a vomiting bug, please be sensible – stay at home, stay hydrated, stay warm and rest. The symptoms are unpleasant, but usually only last a couple of days. However, norovirus is highly infectious so please stay off work, and away from hospitals or GP surgeries, until you have been free of the symptoms for 48 hours. If you need health advice, call NHS 111.”

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