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Half-term appeal after 'black alert' at A&E

Half-term appeal after 'black alert' at A&E

Published by Emma Carton at 8:05am 21st October 2019. (Updated at 1:59pm 21st October 2019)

Cornwall's main hospital has issued a half-term warning after a surge in patients at A&E.

It follows a super busy week, which ended with Treliske declaring a so-called 'black alert'.

That was later stood down, but health bosses say the whole system is under 'significant pressure'.

At one point on Monday morning, the average waiting time at the Royal Cornwall was over four hours.

Locals and visitors are being urged to use other services like minor injuries, unless it is an emergency.

Scroll down to check where else to go for treatment, as well as live waiting times for all hospitals in Cornwall.

What is the plea from health bosses?

Helston GP, Doctor John Garman, has told Pirate FM there is a delay in discharging patients as well.

"We're gearing up for the October half-term and are once again appealing to anyone who needs help to use the right service and keep the emergency department free for urgent and life-threatening care only.

"The emergency department is not the right place to treat sporting sprains and strains, minor fractures, broken bones, upset stomachs, insect bites and cuts. 

"Please visit a minor injury unit or our urgent treatment centres in Penzance or Truro for treatment.

"Holidays and weekends are a time to relax and have fun but if you or a family member falls ill or has an accident, help yourself and the NHS by getting the right treatment for your level of illness or injury.

"If you have a minor illness or ailment then visit your local pharmacist; they can help with expert advice and over-the-counter remedies. 

"If you need urgent medical advice but it is not a life threatening emergency, call NHS 111. 

"Their call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to getting you and out-of-hours doctor".

GP, Dr John Garman

What is the advice if you or your family becomes ill?

Self-care: Having a few basic items in your medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill. Items should include paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, antiseptic cream, and indigestion tablets. If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP or call 111 if your GP surgery is closed.

Repeat medication: If you or someone you care for requires repeat medication, make sure you have ordered and collected any prescriptions before they run out. Contact your GP practice as soon as possible to organise prescriptions.

Visit your local pharmacist: You can speak to your pharmacist for confidential expert advice and over-the-counter treatments for a wide range of common illnesses and complaints, such as stomach upsets, allergies, water infections, sticky eyes, cuts, nappy rash, skin conditions and coughs and colds. They can also arrange an urgent supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don't have to use the out of hours' service or the emergency department. This service is also available for anyone who's on holiday or visiting family. You can get details of which pharmacies are open by visiting the NHS Kernow website.

NHS 111: If you urgently need to see a GP when your surgery is closed and it cannot wait until it re-opens, call NHS 111. The NHS 111 service can put you in contact with the GP out-of-hours service, which can arrange for you to see a healthcare professional in the evening and at the weekend.
It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones. It includes a full range of health services, including doctors, community nurses, emergency dental care and late opening chemists. NHS 111 is also online here.

Minor injury unit: If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than go to the emergency department. This will allow emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations. Access waiting times by visiting kernowccg.nhs.uk/get-info/choose-well

Minor injury units are based at:

  • 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.

Urgent treatment centres: The urgent treatment centres at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance, and Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro is open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for anyone needing urgent medical care for injuries and conditions such as fractures, deep cuts, non-life threatening head injuries and minor falls. You will be seen by a doctor from 9am to 10pm and an experienced nurse overnight. X-ray is available from 8am to 11pm.

Emergency department or 999: Only use the emergency department or the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions such as heart attack, stroke, if someone is unconscious, has severe loss of blood, or breathing difficulties. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or has become unconscious call 999 immediately.

Online waiting time service: If you 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. It also includes opening times and x-ray availability. Visit the NHS Kernow website for more information.

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