Rise in people attending A&E with colds, headaches and hay fever

People are being encouraged to use the most appropriate service after A&E departments in the area are seeing a rise in people attending with minor illnesses such as colds, headaches and hay fever.

Dr Leilah Dare, Emergency Medicine Consultant at North Bristol Trust, said: “Local A&E departments have been extremely busy in recent weeks with record attendances.

“However, many of these attendances are people coming in with minor illnesses which don’t require emergency treatments or care from emergency specialists.

“We are open for everyone, but the vast majority of the time, people with minor illnesses will be able to be seen more quickly by using more local services such as a pharmacy or GP practice, and we may advise you to attend one of these services if we don’t feel you need to be seen in A&E.

“Each minor attendance that comes into our A&E departments puts more pressure on our emergency staff and can mean people with more serious conditions are waiting longer to be seen.”

Dr Lesley Ward, local GP and Clinical Lead for Unplanned Care at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re urging local people to help us help you by using our health services appropriately and only using A&E departments for life-threatening emergencies such as severe bleeding, loss of consciousness or chest pains.

“If you do need urgent care, but you aren’t sure where to go, please contact NHS 111 first, who will be able to provide immediate medical advice or direct you to the most appropriate service for your needs.

“There are a range of other healthcare services that we are encouraging people to use more regularly for minor illnesses, such as local pharmacies.

“You can also avoid needing to go to a health facility altogether by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet, which can help you manage the symptoms of minor illnesses and support you to get better.”

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