NHS Lothian yesterday (Tuesday) urged patients to choose health services wisely amid concerns that Emergency Departments (ED) are under significant pressure this week.
Clinicians have asked people to consider all other options before they made the trip to hospital. They reminded patients that expert help, treatment and advice is available from local pharmacies, opticians, dentists and Minor Injuries Unit, while urgent advice and signposting was also available round the clock from NHS 24.
Emergency departments are busier than normal with the Royal Infirmary treating the majority of these cases.
Dr Alasdair Gray, Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine, NHS Lothian, said: “The ED is for life threatening illness and injury and medical emergencies. We are here when patients need us, but in turn we need them to know that we are not here to treat routine or long-standing illness.
“There are many other expert services available. In many cases, they will provide patients with a swift diagnosis and identical treatment or advice as they would receive in the ED.
“The numbers of patients attending local Emergency Departments are higher than they have ever been, and we would ask patients to think twice and be responsible about their needs – could their condition be treated elsewhere?”
Patients with minor ailments, such as coughs and colds can receive vital advice and medicines to help ease their symptoms from their local pharmacist. For anything relating to eye conditions, opticians should be the first port of call, while dental surgeries can advise and treat on mouth and toothache.