Pressure on A&E

Regular readers of this column will know that I have spoken about the pressures on our A&E department on numerous occasions.

I make no apology for broaching this subject again, as the recent Easter weekend saw unprecedented numbers of people attending. Bank Holiday Monday saw a record high of 427 patients.

There is no denying that the majority of people through the doors genuinely do require emergency treatment, and that is what A&E is for – serious injury and life threatening conditions only.

But, a proportion of people could - and should - be treated by the health services that are available in the community.

I would join my colleagues in urging you to consider the alternatives before attending A&E.

Your local pharmacist is medically trained to deal with minor health concerns, such as coughs and colds, diarrhoea and vomiting, the morning after pill, minor cuts and bruises.

Your GP practice should be your next port of call and you can give them a ring at any time of the day or night. They will direct you to the right service at the right time.

GPs in Bolton are open from 8am to 6.30pm , Monday to Friday, and children under the age of 12 will be assessed on the same day either by telephone consultation or at the surgery.

They also offer routine appointments from 6.30pm to 9.30pm each weekday, and in the morning at weekends, for people who find it difficult to attend during normal hours – these are held at one of three hubs in the borough.

If you need urgent help from a GP day or night, there is an out-of-hours GP service. Just ring your practice and they’ll point you in the right direction.

With two more Bank Holidays fast approaching, please consider your options and let’s keep A&E for those who need it the most.

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