Patients are being asked to 'Think twice' before visiting the accident and emergency department of their local hospital. The North Cumbria University Hospital trust are asking people to remember that A&E and 999 services are for emergency situations.
They say that A&E is the best option for life-threatening and serious emergencies, such as serious accidents and burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes. For other conditions other NHS services are usually a better option.
Patients are encouraged to use services such as NHS Direct, high street pharmacies, GP practices and walk-in centres at local community hospitals for non emergency treatments.
Mike Walker, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals, said:
"I would like to encourage local people to make sure that they choose the right service and help our teams to cope over the winter months. Our A&E teams have to deal with many people who have life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, plus those who have been involved in serious accidents. We need to make sure we can concentrate on helping these emergency cases.
– Mike Walker, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals
"Before you come to A&E, take a moment to think carefully about whether you could be treated elsewhere. Your local high-street chemist can give expert, fast and confidential advice and treatment for many common complaints and can refer you on to other services if needed."