North Lancashire patients advised to use alternatives to A&E

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Heath chiefs across Lancashire North are asking people to consider using appropriate alternatives to accident and emergency units over the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

There has been a large increase in demand locally, so health leaders are asking people suffering from minor illness or injuries to use options other than A&E and allow the hospital to focus on those people with serious conditions, who need to be seen urgently.

Out of Hours services for the care of non-critical ailments can be accessed through NHS 111 who can arrange appointments at the Same Day Health centre or with the out of hours GP services. You can also access lots of advice from your local pharmacy. A&E is really only for the more significant injuries and life-threatening cases.

Speaking on behalf of Lancashire North CCGs, Dr Alex Gaw, said: “We expect to see high demand for all services, but especially at A&E, over the holiday period.

“People with life-threatening, emergency or serious conditions will always receive the highest priority from the NHS. That means that other people who attend with less serious or minor problems may have extremely long waits. We would urge people to use the alternatives that are available.”

“You can call your normal GP number between 8am - 8pm for urgent medical problems, they will either deal with your problem directly or will ensure you receive information on how best to access care. If you need advice outside of these hours you can call NHS 111 if you are unsure. They will direct you to the most appropriate care quickly and efficiently.

Apart from GPs and NHS 111, other options include:

• Self-care – treat minor illness and injury at home using a well-stocked stocked medicine cabinet.

• Call NHS 111 for non-emergency medical advice

• Community Pharmacy – visit for expert advice and treatment for minor ailments.

Find local pharmacies along with opening hours at: http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Pharmacy/LocationSearch/10

To find out about health services available near you visit http://www.nhs.uk/service-search