PATIENTS who have gone to A&E could be asked why they went there instead of other places to be treated.
The News contacted Fareham MP Mark Hoban to ask whether MPs could run a questionnaire to find out more on why patients choose to go to A&E instead of, for example, going to a walk-in centre or to a pharmacist.
The idea has been welcomed by Mr Hoban, who is heading a group of MPs in the area looking to solve A&E waiting times at Queen Alexandra Hospital. It comes after figures revealed about four out of 10 people who went to A&E during one week this month could have been treated elsewhere.
Mr Hoban said: ‘We need to work out how to reduce pressure on A&E. One of the things we have to do is work out which people are going to QA, and why. It’s a good idea to ask patients why they visit and see what emerges.
‘I will speak to the other MPs and Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA, to see what their thoughts are.’
Between September 5, and September 11, 2,125 people turned up at A&E – an average of 303 a day.
But 880 people went with problems that could have been dealt with by GPs, walk-in centres, minor injuries units or pharmacists.
Minor ailments seen included sprain or ligament injuries, bruises, bites, stomach aches and muscle injuries. And 44 people who went to the A&E turned out to have ‘no abnormality detected’.
The majority of these people visited A&E between 8am and 4pm – a time when many other advertised services are open.
MPs are working with PHT, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Trust, South Central Ambulance Service, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, to look at improving patient flow in and out of QA.
For the past 18 months, PHT has consistently failed to meet the national target of seeing, treating or discharging 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
Health officials say they have spent money providing information on other options for people who do not need urgent care, but these are being ignored.
This includes £70,000 on marketing, including £30,000 for an advertising campaign across Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, £11,000 for bus advertising and £9,000 on an urgent care guide.
PHT was unavailable for comment.