Health leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) are urging people to use the right NHS service for their needs, following high levels of demand in local urgent and emergency care services.
Health and care organisations are operating at their highest escalation levels, OPEL4, and the NHS and local authorities are working together to manage demand and ensure patients continue to receive safe and effective care.
People can help to reduce pressure on services by using the most appropriate NHS service for their needs and using A&E for serious and life-threatening emergencies only.
Local GP and CCG Clinical Lead for Primary Care, Dr Martin Jones said: “In recent days we’ve seen an increase in hospital admissions together with a higher number of very ill patients who need to stay in hospital for longer.
“We have well-rehearsed plans in place to manage this demand but A&E departments in particular are under considerable pressure and we expect this to continue throughout the week.
“Members of the public can help us manage demand by using the most appropriate service for their needs and most importantly, only using A&E for genuine life-threatening emergencies.
“There is a wide range of services available in the community ranging from pharmacists to out of hours GPs and minor injuries units and if you need help urgently but aren’t sure where to go, you can contact 111 for immediate advice.
“Above all please remember that if you’re feeling under the weather or have a minor injury, A&E is not necessarily the place for you and you may experience a long wait. In these cases please speak to your pharmacist or contact your GP or 111.”
Alternatives to A&E
Pharmacists can advise on very minor ailments and conditions and can also provide help with managing long-term conditions. Many have confidential consultation rooms.
NHS 111 is for people who urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed online or by phone. The service can book an appointment for patients to see a GP out of hours if clinically appropriate.
Minor injuries units and urgent care centres are available at South Bristol Community Hospital, Clevedon and Yate offering fast, local treatment of minor injuries such as strains, sprains and broken bones, without a trip to A&E. They are available from 8am to 8pm (8.30pm for Clevedon unit), seven days a week. Dial 111 or see www.bnssgccg.nhs.uk for details.
The Walk-In Centre at 59 Broadmead offers similar services to minor injuries units and can also help with minor illnesses and emergency contraception and advice. It’s open 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday (11am – 7pm on Sundays).
More information on local services is available at www.bnssgccg.nhs.uk