Our report on accident & emergency at Queen Alexandra Hospital makes for sobering reading.
While of course it’s an invaluable service, as our story makes clear, it’s one that’s being abused.
Tens of thousands of people are going there when they should be getting treatment elsewhere, whether it’s from their GP or a pharmacy.
And something has to change. It’s costing the hospital £1.3m to treat these people –that’s an astonishing £60 for the 22,000 who are deemed to have gone to A&E inappropriately.
So today we urge you to look at the article on pages 4 and 5 and particularly the panel that outlines when you should visit A&E.
What you’ll see is a surprisingly short, but clear list. And make it your business to remember these points.
Tell your friends and family to do the same.
Then maybe, just maybe, when it comes to looking at theses figures again in 2015, we’ll see a drop in people misusing the system. As we point out today, often those pitching up at A&E do so with no malice.
They just have no idea where to go.
And of course everyone knows that if you go to A&E you will, eventually, see a doctor.
You may be at the end of a very long queue but someone will see you in the end.
Rick Strang works in A&E at QA and says: ‘With a tough winter predicted we need to keep these number low and treat genuine emergency cases.’
We can only echo that sentiment. We’d all like to think that if we or any member of our family, did need to go to A&E, they’d get the best treatment as soon as possible.
Getting people to realise A&E’s not always the right place to go will go a long way to making this a reality.