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, after more than 1,670 people came to the department during the last Easter weekend.
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.
Joint Medical Director, Dr James Marsh said, “Whilst I recommend everyone makes the most of the extra-long weekend, be it catching up on gardening, house work, DIY projects or the like, I ask everyone to be extra careful and wear the correct protective clothing where necessary.
“The majority of people who come to our A&E services are in genuine need, and our staff are always on hand to care for people who need us and work incredibly hard to make sure that every patient is cared for in a compassionate and timely way. However, 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 include:
- Sutton residents can now see an NHS GP more conveniently, with appointments available 8 'til 8, 7 days a week. To make an appointment, people living in Sutton can call their GP practice in the usual way and can ask for a time that is convenient, even at the weekends. If the GP practice is closed, then they can call 07578 813838 / 07479 819677
- 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
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.
Ruth added: “We want people to make the most of the bank holiday weekend and not spend it with us in A&E if it can be avoided – so whether you are doing some DIY or going out for drinks, we strongly urge people to stay safe and be responsible!
Dr Dino Pardhanani, Joint Clinical Director, NHS Sutton CCG said “It’s worth remembering as well that your local pharmacy can offer health advice and medicines for a wide range of common health problems. Many local pharmacies are open over the Easter holidays.”
Opening times for local Sutton pharmacists over the bank holiday weekend are available at https://www.suttonccg.nhs.uk/News-Publications/news/Pages/Pharmacy-opening-time-over-Easter-Bank-Holidays-2019.aspx and for Surrey pharmacists at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/south-east/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2019/04/Surrey-Community-pharmacy-opening-times-Easter-2019.pdf.