The NHS in Gloucestershire is today calling on local people to heed the choose well message and only visit the county’s two main hospital Emergency departments or call 999 when it’s a life threatening or critical situation.

On a typical day during the year, the two hospital Emergency Departments in Gloucestershire will treat around 300-350 people. During the Winter months this can rise as high as 400 each day.

To help local Emergency departments to cope effectively it is important that people use them properly. Emergency Department Consultant at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Tom Llewellyn explains:

“We would ask patients to think carefully about whether or not their condition or illness is an emergency, as they may be preventing others with life threatening conditions from getting immediate care.

An emergency is a critical or life threatening situation, which may include loss of consciousness, severe breathing difficulties, deep wounds, severe chest pain or heavy loss of blood.”

Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Miller said:

“It is really important to remember that hospital Emergency departments are designed to treat serious injuries and emergencies and we would urge people to act responsibly.

The choice of healthcare options is often greater than people realise, particularly for the treatment of minor ailments.

The local pharmacy is a great first port of call for minor ailments. Pharmacists are qualified to give advice on a range of conditions, are experts on medicines and can advise people on whether they need to call or visit another NHS service.

If people are unsure about what health services to access, they can also call NHS 111.”

Pharmacists are qualified to give expert advice on things like coughs, colds, sore throats, aches and pains, minor sprains and stomach upsets. They can also advise on whether a trip to the doctor, or hospital, is necessary.

The Health Access Centres in Eastgate Street, Gloucester and Cassin Way, Cheltenham can see patients with illnesses such as chronic pain, stomach upsets, everyday infections and blocked ears.

The Centres have extended opening hours and offer a same-day service, however patients are encouraged to ring in advance (GHAC – 01452 336290) or (CHAC – 01242 548298/548299) to get an appointment time convenient to them.

If a patient has a ‘flare up’ of a long standing illness such as kidney or lung disease, bronchitis, asthma or diabetes that is not responding to self care or advice from their pharmacist, a call to their GP surgery is the best course of action to take.

Community Hospital Minor Injury Units across Gloucestershire also treat a variety of injuries and illnesses such as sprains, cuts and wounds, minor fractures and minor head injuries.

You can find all the details for local services and get self-care advice at: