Patients in Portsmouth urged to seek alternative urgent care or book A&E slots in advance
DOCTORS in Portsmouth are urging people to use the ‘appropriate’ urgent care services and book ahead where possible, amid concerns over rising numbers attending A&E.
In the last few weeks healthcare professionals have reported a ‘real increase’ in patients visiting the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Members of the public have been advised to contact a specific health service or call 111 to speak to an adviser, if at all possible.
Dr John Knighton, medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust - which runs QA Hospital, said: ‘Over the past few weeks, we have seen an increase of people attending the emergency department.
‘By contacting NHS 111 and only attending the emergency with a booked appointment or in a life threatening emergency you will be helping us to keep our patients and staff safe, reducing the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and supporting those around you in receiving the care they need in the right place at the right time.
‘We all play an important role in looking after our own health as well so please seek support when you need it and don’t wait for symptoms to worsen.’
As an alternative to A&E patients can attend the urgent treatment centre at St Mary’s Milton, or the minor injuries units in Gosport and Petersfield.
If a 111 adviser thinks you need to attend the emergency department they can book you a time slot to attend - to avoid it running over capacity.
Dr Linda Collie, a GP with the East Shore Practice in Portsmouth, added: ‘Your local pharmacy can help you with many minor illnesses or injuries. It's a great first option for quick, helpful advice. Your pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter treatments or suggest if they think you need help from a clinician.
‘Face to face appointments are available at your GP practice but as we need to operate social distancing in the waiting room and take extra time to keep rooms clean we're still offering online and phone appointments for those that need advice but don't need their doctor to see them in person.
‘We know that many people like these options for the convenience that they offer. The team at your GP practice is much bigger than doctors and sometimes you might be better supported by one of the other skilled practitioners there. Rest assured that whoever your appointment is with they'll be well placed to help you.’
QA Hospital was among the first in the country to use the NHS 111 line to book slots for the emergency department in advance as part of a trial that started in July.
Patients can also use 111.nhs.uk to find out where to seek treatment.