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Not all accidents are emergencies

Posted onPosted on 17th Dec

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking people who suffer minor accidents or illness this winter to think about whether they really need to go to the Emergency Department or if they would get more appropriate treatment at another NHS facility.

Hospitals can get especially busy during winter when viruses such as flu and Norovirus are circulating, and slips and trips are common. Choosing the right NHS service will not only help ease the pressure on the Emergency Department staff but may also result in quicker treatment.

Dr Andy Haynes, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said: “The winter season always leads to extra pressure on our Emergency Department and the Christmas and New Year holidays, even more so.

“If you feel your case is an emergency, then you must attend the Emergency Department. Significant illnesses or injuries such as suspected broken bones, chest pain, blackouts, difficulty breathing or blood loss are classed as emergencies.

“Very minor accidents and illnesses, including bruises, grazes sprains, coughs, colds and sore throats, and young, fit people who have flu or winter vomiting bug. Those suffering these should take advice from their GP, local pharmacist or out of hours service in the first instance.”

The GP out of hours service can be accessed during evenings, weekends and bank holidays – ring for an appointment by dialling your usual GP surgery telephone number. The out of hours centre, which is also a 24 hour a day, seven day a week walk in centre, is located alongside the Emergency Department at King’s Mill Hospital and is easily recognisable by the Primary Care 24 sign. Local pharmacies can also provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illness and complaints.

Dr Haynes continued: “We are also asking people to stay safe during cold snaps. Older adults are at higher risk because they tend to lose body heat more quickly and are more likely to take medications that affect their ability to keep warm. As a result, they are at higher risk from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather illnesses and injuries.

“During spells of freezing temperatures, please call or visit older friends, neighbours and loved ones to ensure they have what they need to stay warm and healthy.”