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Please use A&E wisely

15 February 2016

Health Care

After a busy weekend Southend University Hospital has this morning elevated its status to black alert.

To assist the hospital in dealing with the situation, the trust would like to remind members of the public to only visit the accident and emergency department if they are seriously unwell or critically injured.

Choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies, and those with symptoms like this should not hesitate to visit their local A&E department.

Sue Hardy, chief executive at Southend University Hospital, said: "The hospital is currently extremely busy dealing both with the high number of patients coming through our doors and the number of very ill patients who need to be admitted to hospital.

"The emergency department is very busy and we have to warn patients that those attending with 'non-urgent' conditions will wait much longer than usual as patients are prioritised according to how unwell they are.

"We would like to remind anyone who is unsure of the best course of action to always ring NHS 111 for health advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to speak with your GP or pharmacist."

This week it is also half term and NHS England offers the following top tips for keeping well during the school holiday:

• Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet - most minor ailments can be dealt with at home.

• If you are unwell and you're not sure where to go, call NHS 111, a free service available 24 hours a day. They can provide clinical assessment and advice and direct you to the best health service for your ailment.

• Speak to your local pharmacist - they can recognise and resolve many common health issues

• Be mindful that sometimes symptoms can last longer than you think - sore throats can last an average of eight days