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

The NHS in Gloucestershire is relaunching its Stop! Think… campaign today, highlighting the need to keep Gloucestershire’s two Accident and Emergency Departments clear for real emergencies during the winter.

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

Over 29,000 visits a year to A&E in Gloucestershire are for ailments that could be safely treated elsewhere.

The campaign 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, expert health advice and ‘signposting’
  • 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 and you need urgent advice or care. The service is also available 24/7 and can advise on injuries
  • Visit a Community Hospital Minor Injury and Illness Unit, 7 days a week. You don’t need an appointment and there are short average waits
  • Call the Gloucester Health Access Centre for a wide range of GP care from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. It offers a walk in service, but its best to call for an appointment – 01452 336290
  • Try the ASAP Glos NHS App or visit asapglos.nhs.uk – if you’re not sure where to turn. The App and website provide step by step health advice and information on the right service for you.

Prof Mark Pietroni, Medical Director and Consultant in Acute Medicine 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 their 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 Urgent Care Clinical Lead at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, 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.

Dr Amjad Uppal, Medical Director at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation 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 Glos NHS 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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