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More patients are going to A&E with minor problems

More patients are going to A&E with minor problems

Published by Emma Carton at 6:34am 19th July 2018. (Updated at 3:49pm 20th July 2018)

Cornwall's biggest hospital has revealed patients are turning up to A&E with sore throats and insect bites.

Treliske says right now, it is seeing more and more problems that could be treated elsewhere.

Officials have issued a plea, with thousands of visitors expected to descend on the Duchy for the summer break.

ED Consultant, Dr Toby Slade, is urging us to avoid casualty unless it is an absolute emergency.

"These are all things that could be attended to much more quickly by speaking to a pharmacist, visiting a GP, or in many cases just using remedies you can buy over the counter or would keep in your medicine cabinet at home.

"We're also seeing people presenting with long-standing niggles such as back ache or old sports injuries.

"ED isn't the place for these sorts of problems and we really do need the support of holidaymakers and local people in using the right services, so that we can concentrate on those who genuinely need the specialist skills and expertise we provide here.

"For those who simply aren't sure where best to go, the easiest thing to do is to dial 111. You can get access to expert clinical advice if you need it and, if necessary, an appointment with an out of hours GP, even if you are here on holiday".

Things to consider before calling 999

Emergency department: Please only use the emergency department if you have a genuine life-threatening emergency. This includes loss of consciousness; persistent, severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped; severe allergic reactions; severe burns or scalds and acute confused state and fits that don't stop. 

The emergency department is not the right place to treat sporting sprains and strains, minor fractures, broken bones, upset stomachs, insect bites and cuts, nor is it an alternative to a GP appointment.

If your GP practice is closed you can call NHS 111, which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. 

999: Please only call the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or has become unconscious telephone 999 immediately. 

Minor injury units: If your injury is less severe, you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) or the West Cornwall Hospital urgent care centre in Penzance. Here you will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations.

  • Bodmin Community Hospital
  • Camborne Redruth Community Hospital
  • Falmouth Community Hospital
  • Launceston Community Hospital
  • Liskeard Community Hospital
  • Newquay Community Hospital
  • St Austell Community Hospital
  • St Mary’s Community Hospital
  • Stratton Community Hospital, Bude
  • West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance
  • Stennack Surgery, St Ives.

Click here for MIU opening times and contact details or download the free app to check current waiting times here.

Waiting times: If you do need to visit the emergency department, a minor injury unit or urgent care centre, you can see how long you may have to wait by using the online waiting time service, which shows the longest wait, how many people are waiting to be seen and how many people are in the department.

Pharmacists: Pharmacists are highly trained clinicians who can provide confidential expert advice and over-the-counter treatments for a wide range of common illnesses and complaints, such as stomach upsets, allergies, insect bites, minor cuts, sticky and red eyes, nappy rash, skin conditions and coughs and colds.

They can also arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don't have to use the out of hours' service or the emergency department.

The emergency prescription service is also available for anyone who's on holiday or visiting family.

You can also get details of which pharmacies are open at the weekend and evenings here or checking the NHS England website. 

NHS 111: Please call NHS 111 if you need urgent medical advice when your GP surgery is closed, or you're on holiday.

Call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to getting you and out-of-hour's doctor. They can also arrange for a clinician to call you back, if needed. 

Self-care: Having a few basic items in your bathroom medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill.

Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, and antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets.

If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP, call 111 if your surgery is closed, or talk to a pharmacist.

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