A HOSPITAL trust says it has seen an increase in the number of people visiting casualty.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust runs St Richard’s Hospital, in Chichester, and Worthing Hospital, in Worthing.
The trust said that between April 1, to December 31, in 2012, it saw an extra 2,876 people attend the A&E departments at both hospitals, compared to the same time frame in 2011.
It said the vast majority of people going had a genuine illness or injury, but many would have been better off seeing their GP, going to a pharmacist, calling NHS Direct or attending walk-in centres.
On average, staff say they see around 15 people arrive in A&E every hour – one every four minutes.
Dr Amanda Wellesley, emergency care lead at the trust, said: ‘If someone is worried about their health they will want to get treatment and reassurance – we all understand that.
‘But it is essential people take a few seconds to consider their options, not just head to A&E.
‘In many cases there will be alternatives which are more appropriate, more convenient, and quicker for the patient – they also keep A&E staff free to treat the people who desperately need emergency care.
‘If you are seriously ill or have had an accident, come to A&E. But if your condition is not an emergency, then please think through your options.’