04 January 2017
Think twice before using A&E
Following a post-Christmas surge in numbers seeking emergency
care, health leaders are urging people to use A&E only for
serious and life-threatening emergencies.
The local NHS has been placed on system-wide escalation status
(known as OPEL 4) due to high levels of demand for local health
services including in particular emergency services at Southmead
Hospital, Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI), Bristol Royal Hospital for
Children and Weston General Hospital.
System escalation status means that there is severe
pressure on services across the health and social care system
requiring decisive action by all parts of the system to maintain
safe, clinical services.
Local health and care partners have implemented agreed plans to
manage demand and restore capacity across the system. Measures
include redeploying staff to emergency departments, opening up
extra beds wherever possible, rescheduling routine hospital
appointments and operations and increasing capacity in community
and primary healthcare.
Residents are also being encouraged to help manage pressures by
choosing the most appropriate services for their needs and using
A&E for serious and life-threatening conditions only.
Alternatives to A&E
A wide range of local NHS services are available offering fast,
local treatment and advice for minor injuries and illnesses. They
include pharmacies, out-of-hours GP services, minor injuries units
and walk-in centres and the NHS 111 advice line.
Help and advice on getting the right care, first time is
available from the NHS 111 service or local NHS Clinical
Commissioning Group websites at www.bristolccg.nhs.uk, www.northsomersetccg.nhs.uk
The websites include comprehensive information about local
services as well as self-care advice for patients and carers and
further advice for parents caring for poorly children is available
by downloading the free paediatric HANDi App.
Free NHS 'service finder' smartphone apps for Bristol, North
Somerset and South Gloucestershire, offering on-the-go advice
and guidance on finding a local NHS service, are also available to
download from the Android and Apple app stores.
BACK TO NEWS
- Minor injuries units are available in Bristol,
Clevedon and Yate for fast, local treatment of minor
injuries such as strains, sprains and broken bones, without needing
a trip to A&E. They're available seven days a week. Dial 111
- Bristol also has a walk-in centre at 59 Broadmead and an urgent
care centre at South Bristol Community Hospital, offering the same
services as minor injuries units as well as help with minor
illnesses and emergency contraception and advice.
- The NHS 111 service is available for people who urgently need
medical help or advice, but it's not a life-threatening situation.
It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free to call
from a mobile or landline.
- A&E and 999 are for serious, life-threatening conditions
such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, severe chest pain,
head injuries or a suspected stroke or heart attack. In these
circumstances, don't hesitate - call 999 for immediate
- For advice on choosing or locating a service, call 111, free,
at any time or visit your local NHS website.