Broken specs and a dead rabbit – ‘silly’ cases clogging A&E

BUSY Queen Alexandra Hospital's accident and emergency department
BUSY Queen Alexandra Hospital's accident and emergency department

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BROKEN glasses, a chipped acrylic nail and a dog with a broken leg – these are just some of the extreme cases the NHS say is clogging up Portsmouth’s accident and emergency department.

The supposed ‘emergencies’ have all been recorded at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, in the past three months.

Other cases include a patient complaining of red eyes after swimming and someone bringing in a dead rabbit.

And it’s not just QA that has been subject to bizarre medical queries.

South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) said it has received inappropriate calls in recent weeks including someone saying they had got a fish hook stuck in their finger, people wanting lifts home, a broken electric bed and light bulbs that needed changing.

Now Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, and the ambulance trust, are reminding people to think before dialling 999 or going into A&E.

Neil Cook, head of operations at Scas, said: ‘Unfortunately all emergency services experience inappropriate calls, and the callers don’t always realise how they are taking the valuable resources away from someone who really needs them.

‘All we can ask is that people think before they call to make sure they are getting what they really need.’

Other incidents where people go to A&E believing they have a serious medical condition include mosquito bites, sunburn, sprains and a fever.

And ambulances are often called out for minor sporting injuries, headaches and earaches.

Isabel Gaylard, head of nursing for emergency medicines at QA, said: There’s a lot of people that aren’t sure where to go and come to hospital.

‘The emergency department is for haemorrhages, severe chest pain and severe broken bones.

‘For minor breaks, such as to the wrist, people should go to a walk-in centre.

‘If it is more serious then you will be referred to hospital.

‘For things like coughs and headaches, people should be going to their GP.

‘This is all about choosing the right care path and making the most of facilities.

‘We don’t turn people away, but sometimes A&E isn’t the place they should be and they will be directed to a treatment or walk-in centre.

‘Some of these extreme cases are not everyday occurrences and those people were not turned away.

‘They were still given advice on what to do.

‘But all this impacts journeys for patients.’

For more information visit or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.



· Woman had a broken acrylic nail and wanted it to be repaired

· Patient complained of red eyes after swimming in a chlorinated pool

· A dead rabbit and a dog with a broken leg

· Man who broke his glasses asked A&E to repair them

· Mosquito bites

· Sunburn

· Sprains

· Fever

999 calls

· Fish hook stuck in finger

· Lifts home

· Electric bed which had broken

· Light bulbs which needed changing

· Minor sports injuries

· Headaches

· Sprains

· Earache