EMERGENCY departments are being clogged up with people who do not need to be there.
Last year more than half of the patients who arrived at A&Es across Hampshire were discharged because there was nothing wrong with them.
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 2010 and 2011 441,939 people turned up as emergency cases but 251,608 were discharged, with just advice or a referral to a GP.
None of them was even given a prescription.
A total of 38,410 Portsmouth residents attended emergency departments across the area but 15,764 were sent home because they did not require treatment.
Dr Stuart Ward, clinical director for the Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth PCT Cluster, said the number of discharges not requiring further treatment was telling.
He said: ‘It indicates to me that a significant proportion of attendances at emergency departments are not suitable for emergency treatment, and those people should have considered using one of a number of alternatives available to them.
‘NHS Direct, community pharmacies or minor injury units are all staffed by healthcare professionals who are able to offer advice and treatment on a range of ailments, from minor fractures, cuts, sprains and strains, to emergency contraception.
‘The emergency department at your hospital should be used only for emergencies – when you’re very badly hurt or if you become suddenly and seriously ill.
‘This ensures those who need urgent help the most are able to get it without delay.’
For advice on where to go if you are unwell or injured go to portsmouth.nhs.uk/Your-Health/Choosewell or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.