May 28, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Door of the emergency ambulance car - selective focus

A&E Doctor Speaks: Things the public should try before dialling 999 today

Emergency services in the UK will be under increasing pressure in light of today’s strikes.  While some emergencies will always require an ambulance, there are alternatives available where patients are not critical.

A&E Clinician and Clinical Entrepreneur at eConsult, Mark Harmon advises:

“Emergency Departments are already under immense pressure, but today, with severe staff shortages and demand continuing to outstrip capacity, we can expect it to be much worse. If you need medical attention today, before you dial 999, here are some other alternative avenues available:

  • Urgent treatment centres: Available in most hospitals, which can provide help when it’s not a life-threatening emergency (broken bones and sprains, cuts, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, high temperature and mental health).

  • Walk-in centres: Will help you with many, but not all, of the same problems as urgent treatment centres.

  • Call the NHS on 111: If you are not sure what service you might need.

  • Pharmacies: For aches and pains, coughs and colds, flu, earache, skin rashes and cystitis.

There are also digital triage systems such as e-Consult, that are widely used within the NHS. This allows you to describe your problem and it sends the details to your GP practice so that they can help route you to the right point of care.

The important thing to remember is that there is still a service running today, so don’t suffer in silence. If you can use some of the options above then great, but if not, you can still call 999.”