Don’t clog up Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s A&E and put lives at risk, health chiefs warn
- Credit: Archant
People are being asked to think twice before they go to A & E after figures revealed 250 people who attend A & E at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn are sent home without requiring treatment each month.
The ‘Choose Me Not A&E’ campaign provides vital information about which health care service is right for the symptoms they have.
Every year, about 3,000 local people wait for hours in A&E when they could have got quicker and more appropriate treatment closer to home.
The campaign is being led by NHS West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Wisbech Local Commissioning Group in collaboration with the QEH.
Not only are residents wasting hours of their valuable time waiting, but they potentially block access to services for other people in more urgent need.
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Dr Ian Mack, Chair of West Norfolk CCG, said: “This campaign has a powerful, local message: Help the QEH save lives this winter. We want people to understand that A&E is for serious, life-threatening emergencies only.
“Inappropriate use of A&E increases waiting times for those patients who are genuinely in need of urgent medical attention.
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“Many people could easily be treated by a local pharmacist, GP, or even just by staying at home and looking after yourself.
“Our message is simple - if it’s not a serious medical emergency, A&E is not the right choice.
“If you are not sure which service to use log on to our new website ChooseMeNotAandE.co.uk to find out more, or pick up one of the campaign leaflets to see your options.
“You can also use the NHS 111 number which can put you in touch with the best service for you.”
Dorothy Hosein, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: “Accident and Emergency departments are under extreme pressure nationwide and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is not different in that respect.
“We have been working hard to improve our waiting times, bringing them within the national target, whilst maintaining safe and effective care for our patients, this becomes harder to manage through winter months as a result of increased demand.
“The Choose Me Not A&E campaign serves as a reminder that there are alternative ways for the public to get help where Accident and Emergency may not be the most appropriate route to take.”
The first defence against ill health is self-care and prevention. Here are some top tips from local GPs for staying healthy over the winter:
• Eat healthily – food is vital for keeping you warm.
• Take some exercise – we know it’s getting cold but even staying active in your home makes a difference.
• Wrap up warm when you go outside – it’s often a good idea to layer your clothing.
• Stock up on medicines – paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen decongestant and aspirin.
• Get a flu jab – the vaccine is free for those in an eligible group. To find out if you are in an eligible group visit www.nhs.uk
• Keep your home warm – your main living room should be between around 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). For more information about Warm and Well visit www.norfolk.gov.uk