Local MSP Christine Grahame has called on her constituents to make sure they’re using the correct NHS services as A&E faces additional pressures.
Having written to the NHS to ask about potentially incorrect usage, examples were given of people attending A&E for issues such as a sore throat, an ear ache, a cough and various other minor ailments which would be better treated using an alternative non-emergency service. Such cases put additional pressure on A&E staff and increase waiting times.
Ms Grahame said: “I of course do not want to put anyone off using A&E where there is any chance they are seriously unwell. If in doubt, use the emergency services provided.
“However, A&E and the Ambulance Service exist for emergencies – conditions that may prove to be life threatening or require immediate treatment.
“Ailments such as minor aches and pains, coughs and colds and so on are not normally cause for emergency treatment unless there are other underlying conditions and people attending for such things can inadvertently impact on the hospital’s ability to treat real emergencies.
“Alternative services are much better placed to help with these- often people don’t realise all the options available to them. As well as GP’s appointments, pharmacists can also offer advice on illness and advise on over the counter medication which could help. There is also the NHS 24 service, available by phoning 111, which is open 24 hours and can offer medical advice over the phone and refer you appropriately (e.g. an out of hours GP or so on).
“By ensuring only those who need to go to A&E attend it we can make the department the most efficient it can be for what it’s truly intended for – dealing with emergencies and saving lives.”