Dont just go to Accident and Emergency this bank holiday

29 May 2012

With the extra long Bank Holiday weekend approaching fast, many of us are looking forward to taking it easy and celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee with a four day weekend. For others, a Bank Holiday is never a restful time.

“For people working in local health services such as hospitals, long weekends can mean extra work and more patients requiring services at different times,” says Dr Atul Aggarwal, Chair of the Havering Clinical Commissioning Group, made up of all Havering GP practices.  “We know that with some pharmacies and GP surgeries closed, many people who get injured or who feel unwell during that time will head for the nearest A&E department as they think it’s the best way to be seen quickly.

“We are asking people not to put an extra burden on our hospitals over the Bank Holiday weekend and to remember that a hospital A&E is for really serious, life threatening emergencies only – not for cuts and sprains, coughs and colds. Please don’t stop people who really need an A&E’s emergency help from being seen and treated quickly.”

Last year 40% of all visitors to A&E ended up simply being given ‘advice’ by a doctor or nurse which could easily and more appropriately have been provided by either their local GP, staff in a walk in centre, NHS Direct or a local pharmacist.

Our walk in centres at Harold Wood polyclinic and Orchard Village in Rainham can treat many things – cuts, sprains, bites – that people often go to A&E for.

If you have a repeat prescription, make sure you have enough medicines to see you through the holiday period.

You can get help with your symptoms from NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or from their excellent website at:

And if your GP surgery is closed you can also call the out of hours GP service on 0845 075 0495, 6pm-8am Monday to Friday.

“As local GPs we are working hard with our colleagues in hospitals to help cut waiting times,” continues Dr Aggarwal, “But it will help if, as patients, we all do our best to go to the right place to see the right person for the right care. So please remember, A&E is there to save the lives of people who need emergency and often life saving care.”