PEOPLE are being encouraged to choose carefully when needing medical treatment over the Christmas period.
During the winter months the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham sees a rise in the number of patients.
But Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cosham site, is encouraging people to look at all options when it comes to getting care.
n Looking on the NHS Choices website for advice on symptoms.
n Using the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
n For minor injury or ongoing illness, your GP will be able to help, with many surgeries operating same-day appointment services for urgent problems.
n Going to a pharmacist who can give good advice for all sorts of minor illnesses including coughs and colds.
n Stocking up on prescriptions.
n Using minor injury units for simple breaks and sprains.
n Keeping warm over the winter months to help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Sophie Gough, consultant in emergency medicine, said: ‘The QA emergency department is here to provide emergency care for patients with issues such as breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, serious accidents and severe bleeding.
‘We want to ensure that the right people are in the right place, so please think twice before you come here – it may be that your GP or minor injury unit would be a better place for you to be seen quicker and more appropriately.’
QA is struggling to cope with pressure on A&E and a number of schemes have been introduced, including seeing frail people quicker and ensuring people are not taking up beds unnecessarily.