Do You Really Need A&E?

More than half of the attendances at Emergency Departments across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 2010/11 were discharged, either with GP follow-up or no follow-up required at all.

This equates to 251,608 attendances from a total number of 441,939 throughout Southampton, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth or 56.9%.

Dr Stuart Ward, clinical director for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCT Cluster, said the number of discharges not requiring further treatment at all 169,247 (38%) was telling.

He said: "It indicates to me that a significant proportion of attendances at Emergency Departments are not suitable for emergency treatment, and those people should have considered using one of a number of alternatives available to them.

"NHS Direct, community pharmacies or minor injury units are all staffed by healthcare professionals who are able to offer advice and treatment on a range of ailments, from minor fractures, cuts, sprains and strains, to emergency contraception.

"The Emergency Department at your hospital should be used only for emergencies - when you're very badly hurt or if you become suddenly and seriously ill. This ensures that those who need urgent help the most are able to get it without delay."

If you need advice on where best to go when you feel unwell or are injured, check the following websites:

* NHS Southampton City - http://www.southamptonhealth.nhs.uk/treatment/ 

* NHS Hampshire - http://www.hampshire.nhs.uk/local-services/choose-well

* NHS Isle of Wight - http://www.iow.nhs.uk/index

* NHS Portsmouth - http://www.portsmouth.nhs.uk/Your-Health/Choosewell

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