When you should visit accident and emergency....

Debbie Cartmell from the QA delivers a gift to a resident at Bluewater Care Home as part of last year's appeal

QA Hospital staff collect gifts to donate to people in care homes

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IT’S estimated around one in five people visiting Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E department do not need to be there.

Each year the Cosham hospital sees around 110,000 patients – yet 20 per cent (22,000) could be treated elsewhere.

It means about £1.3m is wasted on patients who could be treated more quickly and appropriately in another NHS setting.

But what’s more, unnecessary walk-ins create huge pressure on staff who already have a tough job.

Ultimately, this can have an effect on patients, as people are left waiting for hours and sometimes those that need such urgent care may be restricted.

So when should accident and emergency departments be used?

The NHS said that A&E departments assess and treat patients with serious injuries or illnesses.

Generally, you should visit the emergency department or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

· loss of consciousness.

· acute confused state and fits that are not stopping.

· persistent, severe chest pain.· breathing difficulties.

· severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.

If your health problem does not fall into these categories, then you should consider seeing your GP, a pharmacist, going to a walk-in centre or calling NHS 111.