Doctors in Bristol are urging patients to get the right care, first time this Easter bank holiday (14-17 April), to help relieve pressure on busy A&E services.
Figures show that around a quarter of people who go to A&E locally could be treated more quickly and conveniently by an alternative service, leaving A&E staff free to focus on the most serious and life-threatening conditions.
And with Easter typically one of the busiest times of the year for emergency services, doctors are reminding patients of the range of options available to them if they need urgent – but not emergency - care over the bank holiday weekend.
In Bristol these include the South Bristol Urgent Care Centre, the minor injuries unit at Southmead Hospital and the NHS Walk-In Centre in Broadmead, all of which are open throughout the bank holiday weekend and can treat minor injuries such as sprains, strains and broken bones.
If you urgently need to speak to your GP but can’t wait until your practice re-opens you can also contact the GP out–of-hours service which is available 24 hours a day over the bank holiday weekend and can be accessed via NHS 111.
Emergency pharmacists will also be open throughout Bristol, offering expert advice on minor ailments, as well as emergency prescriptions and emergency contraception.
"A&E is for serious and life-threatening emergencies only. In these circumstances people shouldn’t hesitate to call 999 or go directly to their local A&E unit. However, for times when people need help urgently but it’s not life-threatening, they should use one of the urgent care services available, such as the urgent care centre at South Bristol Community Hospital or the GP out-of-hours service. By using the right care, first time for non-emergency conditions people can avoid lengthy waits and unnecessary journeys. Better still, they’ll be helping A&E staff to focus on the most serious and life-threatening conditions.”"
- Dr Lesley Ward, Local GP and CCG clinical lead for urgent care
You can check your options for urgent care in Bristol and get immediate medical advice by telephoning NHS 111. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to use from a landline or mobile.
The free NHS Bristol Service Finder app, offering on-the-go advice on local NHS services, is also available to download for smartphones.