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Warm spell puts pressure on our A&E medical team

13 July 2015

Health Care

Warm days, long daylight hours, more sunshine – it’s hardly surprising that most people look forward to the summer months.

However not everyone is enjoying the warmer weather.  In fact, record numbers of people are coming to Southend University Hospital's A&E department - many of whom could have been treated elsewhere.

Local doctors are urging people to think carefully and consider whether going to an A&E department is really necessary and the best option for them or their loved ones.

Dr Caroline Howard, clinical director and consultant emergency medicine, said: "Each week we continue to see high numbers of patients, many of whom, at least 50 patients per day, could be treated elsewhere.  This impacts the service we deliver to those who truly need us in an emergency. A&E is for genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as: loss of consciousness, persistent, severe chest pain and severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. Please think before coming here whether your health concerns or symptoms could be addressed quicker through the NHS 111 service or an alternative service."

Dr Mike Saad, local GP and Chair of NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG, said: "Of course, in a genuine emergency the A&E department will provide the best possible care for life-threatening illness and injury, but it is really important that people only go there in a real emergency.

"As many as one in four people who go to A&E could care for themselves or use alternative treatment.  Incorrect use of A&E departments cost the NHS a lot of money that could be used to pay for other services or expensive drugs.   A single visit to A&E can cost £124 just to be seen.

"There are other services available that could deliver more appropriate and convenient care.  If you are in doubt, please call NHS 111 first or speak to another healthcare professional like your local GP or pharmacist." 

IMAGE: Dr Caroline Howard, clinical director and consultant emergency medicine