Staff from Epsom and St Helier hospitals are urging local people to take extra care over the Easter Bank holiday weekend and to only come to A&E in genuine emergencies. Last Easter, we saw 414 people come to A&E on Easter Sunday, and 1,668 people across the entire four day period.
Bank holidays are often very busy times for hospitals across the country, and although our A&E departments are open 24/7 and staffed by experts trained to deal with any situation, such large numbers of patients through the doors can mean long waits for people with more minor injuries, and can put additional pressure on the service.
Deputy Chief Executive and Joint Medical Director, Ruth Charlton said, “Whilst I recommend everyone makes the most of the extra-long weekend, be it catching up on cleaning, house work, DIY projects or the like, I ask everyone to be extra careful.
“The majority of people who come to our A&E services are in genuine need, but if you need medical care and it’s not an emergency you may face a long wait, and there are a number of alternatives to consider that could help you avoid that.”
Alternatives to A&E over the weekend include:
- GP out-of-hours – you can still call your GP outside normal surgery hours, but you will usually be directed to an out-of-hours service. The out-of-hours period is 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.
- Seek advice from NHS 111 – the non-emergency number for the NHS. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the most suitable medical care
- NHS walk-in centres and minor injury units, which deal with minor injuries and illnesses, such as infections and rashes, blood pressure checks and lacerations.
However, if you experience a genuine life-threatening emergency, such as loss of consciousness, acute confused state, fits that are not stopping or persistent chest pain, please call 999 immediately.