Stop and think before attending hospital emergency departments

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NHS Ayrshire and Arran is asking people to stop and think before attending hospital emergency departments (EDs) as services are under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

Joanne Edwards, director of Acute Services, explained: ‘Pressure remains high across all our health and care services. This is due to staff absence, high occupancy levels in hospitals, delayed transfers of care and high volumes of frail and ill patients requiring complex care.

‘We continue to triage patient presentations and prioritise our patients based on clinical need. While most patients coming through our emergency departments are ill and need to be there, we know some people who attend our EDs would receive more appropriate and quicker treatment elsewhere.

‘So we are asking members of the public to stop, think and ask ‘Is it an emergency?’ If it is an emergency, come straight to the emergency department or call 999.

‘That way we can ensure that our emergency departments are there for those who need it most – those with serious illnesses and accidents such as suspected stroke, heart attack, head injuries, fractures or wounds that need stitches.

‘If it’s not an emergency, call NHS 24 on 111 and you will be assessed over the telephone and referred to the right healthcare professional. We know you may need to wait a while for your call to be triaged. However, calling NHS24 from your home can avoid unnecessary trips to hospital and allow you to access care as close to home as possible.’