NHS services have released a list of their 'Top 12 unnecessary A&E visit of Christmas' to try to reduce the number of people who go to the department when they don't need to.
The list features real life stories from patients who visited hospitals across the Midlands this year.
The NHS says the 12 conditions on the list should have been either treated at home; by a GP; a pharmacist; or just by going somewhere completely different.
- Torn fingernail
- Sore throat the patient had woken up with
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Four-month verruca
- False nails needed removing
- Ear ache
- Ran out of asthma inhaler and needed a replacement
- Wart on a finger
- Hangover after a night out
- Cold and sneezing
- Pain in the toe (left A&E 15 minutes later to visit on-site bakery)
- Hair extensions needed removing
In the wake of the list being released, A&E services are urging people to think more carefully about whether they really need to visit A&E this winter - do they have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury?
It follows Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures from 2012/13, showing that around one in two people attended A&E when they may have been able to go elsewhere for treatment.
The 'Choose Well' campaign encourages people to use other treatments and services available, including:
- Self-care – treat minor illness and injury at home using stocked medicine cabinet.
- Pharmacy – visit for expert advice and treatment for minor ailments.
- NHS 111 – call for advice and signposting on what the best treatment is and where to go for it.
- GP – call for advice and if symptoms persist for more than a few days, make an appointment.
- Walk-in centre – open until late, treating trips, falls and minor injuries.