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Royal Surrey’s A&E is Being Overstretched by Non-emergency Cases

Published on: 4 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 6 Jan, 2017

Up to 50 patients of the 200 who, each day, attend the Royal Surrey County Hospital’s A&E department could have been treated more appropriately elsewhere, according to a press release issued by the hospital today (January 4).

The hospital is urging the public during the winter months when emergency departments experience an increased demand for services to consider whether they need to go to A&E or seek help elsewhere and help the A&E department free for those patients who really need it.

A hospital spokesperson said: “Many people are coming to hospital with diarrhoea and vomiting.

“At this time of year this is nearly always caused by a viral infection, normally lasts only a few hours and almost never needs hospital treatment.

“Coming to hospital puts other patients at risk of infection. Please stay at home if you have these symptoms and ask advice [see below] before attending hospital.”

The Royal Surrey is supporting the national “Choose Well” campaign to ensure that people receive the right treatment in the right place at the right time.

The Choose Well checklist

Consultant Elizabeth Cheshire, the clinical director of the Royal Surrey’s emergency department, said: “The emergency department is extremely busy at the moment and I would urge people to think very carefully about whether A&E is the most appropriate option for treatment.

Dr Elizabeth Cheshire

“A&E is for serious and life threatening conditions and it is vital that it is kept available for those who really need it.

“Patients who urgently need help will always be prioritised and this means that those who arrive with minor injuries or illness may face a very long wait.

“If you need medical help or advice and are unsure whether you should come to A&E, call NHS 111. Calling NHS 111 is free, available 24 hours a day and they can make an appointment with an out of hours GP for you.

“You may also be directed to other services including walk in centres, urgent care centres or pharmacists if your condition can be managed there.

“In a real emergency, however you should always attend A&E.”

Asked if the A & E department was so busy because people are struggling to get quick GP appointments, a hospital spokesperson said: “With the high levels of demand this winter, the NHS as a whole is experiencing extreme pressure.

“GPs, like the hospital, are also incredibly busy and are doing all they can to facilitate emergency appointments where necessary.

“The Trust’s social care partners are also working tirelessly to ensure that care packages are in place for those patients who are well enough to leave hospital.”

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Responses to Royal Surrey’s A&E is Being Overstretched by Non-emergency Cases

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Perhaps a way of getting this message across might be to drop the word “Accident” from the name of the department and call it by it’s more proper title of “Emergency Department”.

    A small change, but it might just help to bring home to people that it is an emergency treatment facility, not an extension to, or replacement for, their GP’s surgery.

    Has the provision of a “Walk In” treatment facility at the RSCH been considered, or does one exist, for less serious injuries and illnesses, perhaps in the form of an advanced GP surgery?

  2. John Perkins Reply

    January 5, 2017 at 11:49 am

    The difficulty many people have is that they are not capable of self-diagnosis and in the absence of immediately available GP services are forced to attend A&E.

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