GROWING pressure on accident and emergency departments in hospitals across Warwickshire has prompted the county’s health organisations to urge people to think about whether they really need to use them.
For minor accidents, such as cuts, sprains and rashes, people can visit the Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre, Stratford Hospital’s minor injuries unit, Rugby Urgent Care Centre at the St Cross Hospital site and Camphill Health Centre in Nuneaton.
No appointment is necessary and patients will be seen by a doctor or emergency nurse practitioner, who can also offer advice about non-urgent conditions.
Pharmacists around the county can also give advice and over-the-counter remedies for diarrhoea, minor infections, headaches, coughs and colds, skin conditions and earache.
Anyone who is unsure on the best course of action can call Warwickshire Healthline on 03000 247 111 or NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice and reassurance that they are doing the right thing.
Choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies and people with these symptoms should not hesitate to visit their closest accident and emergency department.
Hospitals can get especially busy during winter, when viruses such as flu and norovirus are circulating, and slips and trips are common.
Choosing the right NHS service will help reduce the risk of exposure to viruses and may result in quicker treatment, as well as helping to ease the pressure on A&E so that emergency patients get timely care.