‘People are using A&E department unnecessarily’

The A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham
The A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham
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READERS have shared their opinions on ambulances failing to reach their target of 75 per cent of emergency calls within eight minutes.

All sympathise with the A&E staff and paramedics, and say the misuse of the system by people is to blame for the pressure.

Martin Vine, 47, of Hilsea, said: ‘Like all things it is not necessarily the level of resource, it is the way we use them.

‘Cut down how many people are using A&E unnecessarily and you reduce the issue.’

Angela Barnes, 63, of Milton, added: ‘Frightening, but not the fault of ambulance crews or A&E staff who all work so hard.

‘These cutbacks in staff and resources will have serious consequences like stroke patients not getting clot-busting drugs in time or heart attacks and brain haemorrhages not being addressed quickly enough resulting in death or serious consequences.’

Heather Smith, 30, of Baffins, said: ‘People should stop calling ambulances for things that can wait or be seen by a doctor – that would help tremendously.’

Philipa Newman, of Southsea, added: ‘I feel happy to live somewhere that 80 per cent (of ambulances) can get there on time.

‘More people should learn first aid so that it will be more likely that a person will be in good hands until an ambulance does arrive.

‘Especially if that ambulance happens to be in the 20 per cent that are later than ideal.

‘Often it is the first few minutes that are make or break in an emergency.’

Understand when you need help from A&E

PORTSMOUTH Hospitals NHS Trust is urging people to understand when they require help from the A&E department.

It comes as increasing pressures on emergency departments are placing lives at risk.

If an injury is not serious, patients can get help from a minor injury unit, rather than going to an emergency department.

This will allow staff on emergency departments to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions.

Minor injuries are incidents such as sprains, strains, broken bones and fractures, and other non life-threatening incidents.

Minor injury units are located at:

- Gosport War Memorial Hospital: 8am to 9pm every day. Call (023) 9279 4753.

- St Mary’s Treatment Centre, Portsmouth: Monday to Friday, 7.30am - 10pm. Weekends and Bank Holidays, 8am-10pm (last admission is 9.30pm). Call 0333 200 1822.

- Petersfield Community Hospital: 8am-6pm every day. Call 01730 263221.