The message from the NHS that A&E is for emergencies only, is beginning to reach residents in Bristol. Top of the list of places that people would go for health advice - during weekends or bank holidays - is their local pharmacy.
In a recent YouGov survey of people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, over 50% say they would seek advice from a pharmacist at weekends for a non-urgent health condition.
"It’s really good to see that the message is reaching patients, and that they’re aware that pharmacists can give advice on a range of health complaints. The Minor Injuries Units are also open over bank holidays such as Easter, and are often a more appropriate place for treatment for patients with conditions that are not serious enough to need to attend A&E."
- Jill Shephard, Chief Officer of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group
Going to A&E unnecessarily or missing GP appointments were seen, by 46% of the YouGov participants as the main reasons the local NHS health service is under pressure during busy periods. A quarter of those surveyed directly attributed this to people going to A&E, instead of another NHS Service such as a walk-in centre, Minor Injuries Unit, or 111, which can all help give out-of-hours treatment during the holidays.
The message for people as the Easter period approaches is to seek help as early as possible if they’re starting to feel under the weather. Minor conditions can deteriorate more quickly among the elderly and those with long-term conditions, so seek early advice from the local pharmacist.
Young children are also among the most likely to attend A&E for non-emergency injuries or illnesses, and could often receive the care they need from local NHS services without a hospital visit.