CALL before you go – that is the message to people worried about an illness or injury.
Health officials say too many people are still using the emergency department (ED) at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham as the first resort for any health problem.
For non-emergency cases, doctors recommend dialling the non-emergency 111 phone service – it can mean missing out on a potentially long wait at the ED, and provides expert advice on the most appropriate course of action.
Dr Jim Hogan, clinical leader of the NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group and urgent care lead for the area, said: ‘The 111 service in this area works very well, and it is essential that it becomes the first choice for anyone who has a non-emergency health concern.
‘If you are facing a genuine emergency, then of course ED remains the right thing to do. But if you are unsure whether your problem is urgent, the choice is between making a call to 111 to get some expert advice about what to do, or driving to hospital and possibly waiting around for hours – I know which one I would do.
‘Calling 111 instead of simply setting off towards Queen Alexandra Hospital can save you a lot of time.’