Campaign aims to keep A&E for emergencies

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A NEW campaign has been launched encouraging the public to ensure they only use accident and emergency services for real emergencies.

NHS Tayside has produced credit card-sized information cards highlighting alternative services which can be accessed rather than A&E.

The health authority estimates that one in four people who visit an A&E unit could receive more appropriate treatment from a different service, relieving pressure on the unit’s staff when they may be needed for a real emergency.

It also points out that going directly to the person with the appropriate skills is important as it could aid a quicker recover and ensure all NHS Tayside services run efficiently.

Launching the campaign on Friday, NHS Tayside chairman Sandy Watson said: “This information card is a helpful summary of the medical provision available across Tayside which the public may not be aware of. By choosing wisely we can ensure that the A&E service can give full attention to the really serious cases.”

A&E consultant Dr Shobhan Thakore also said that at peak times such as holiday periods A&E can be very busy and the service has to ensure it is able to see people quickly if they need emergency care.

She said: “Members of the public have always recognised that A&E is for those with genuine emergencies, however they are not always aware of what alternatives are out there, especially when their own GP is closed. This sometimes leads to them attending A&E only for us to have to explain that we cannot help. This is frustrating for them and diverts us from other patients.

“With some minor illnesses and injuries it is not always necessary to see a doctor or nurse. Helpful advice can be given by pharmacists and NHS 24. However, if you feel you need to see a doctor or nurse but your GP is closed please phone NHS 24. They can give advice and, if necessary, put you in contact with a GP or nurse in the out-of-hours service.”

The information cards will be available at all NHS Tayside sites including GPs, pharmacists and health centres.