Use emergency services appropriately

Residents across the Fylde Coast are being urged to use emergency services appropriately this winter.

Many people attend urgent services when it is unnecessary and they could be better treated elsewhere, which during the winter season can put extra demands on already pressured emergency departments.

Doctors are asking local residents to Choose Well before attending their nearest emergency department. If someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk then 999 should be called.

An emergency is a critical or a life-threatening situation, such as:

  • Suspected heart attack
  • Chest pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Deep wounds such as stab wounds
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Head injuries

However, coughs colds, sore throats, vomiting and other minor ailments such as sprains, do not necessarily require a trip to see a health professional. Self-care could often be the first port of call, but help and advice for such illnesses can be sought from elsewhere should people require it.

The NHS 111 service is a free-to-call non-emergency medical helpline offering health advice and information. The 111 adviser will be able to:

  • decide what medical help you need;
  • tell you where you need to go to get this medical help; and
  • transfer your call to the service you need, or book an appointment for you, if possible.

Simply dial 111 at any time day or night or visit NHS 111 at www.nhs.uk/111.

Pharmacists can offer expert help with common complaints and advise when symptoms are serious enough to warrant a GP visit.

Dr Tony Naughton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “With people’s help we can reduce the pressure on our busy emergency departments and ensure those who do need it are treated quickly.

“There are often many other alternative services that people can use should they require medical attention or advice, and knowing which service is appropriate is essential.

“We do not want people to think that they can’t attend emergency departments  but ask instead that people be aware of the other services on offer and assess whether they actually need immediate urgent care before seeking it.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “During winter our emergency departments are under increased pressure, and even more so over the festive period. This means it is essential that people think carefully before visiting emergency departments. There are often better alternatives which can help people get the right treatment more easily and quicker.

“We obviously aren’t telling people who are in need of urgent medical attention not to attend our emergency departments but ask people to consider whether they actually need to go or could be seen and treated elsewhere.

“Pharmacists and the NHS 111 service are excellent alternatives that people can contact should they need any advice on things such as coughs, colds, vomiting and minor ailments.”