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.
"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."
– Mike Walker, Medical Director at North Cumbria University Hospitals