Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire residents are being urged to do their bit for the NHS and help save lives during the Covid-19 outbreak, by using the right health services for their needs.
Local health and care leaders want people to avoid A&E for all but serious or life-threatening emergencies, to allow hospitals to focus on the patients who need them most.
People with minor injuries such as sprains, cuts or burns are being asked to go to their local minor injury unit for help, while those with minor illnesses are asked to contact their GP.
People are also being reminded to contact NHS111, at any time, for immediate help with urgent, but non-emergency conditions.
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG Medical Director Dr Martin Jones said: “The Covid-19 outbreak presents an unprecedented challenge to local health and care services and we have to make sure that hospitals are free to focus on the patients who need them most.
“Most people already know that A&E isn’t the best place for minor injuries or illnesses and at this time it’s absolutely vital that people heed this advice and take these conditions to their GP or local minor injury unit first.
“MIUs are available 12 hours a day including weekends and we’ve put in place extra staffing resources to make sure that people continue to be seen promptly.
“Local GPs will also be using phone and digital consultations to make sure they can see the maximum number of patients.
“Staff in MIUs and GP practices are doing a fantastic job to support our hospitals and I know we can count on members of the public to help by using the right services for their needs.”
As part of the changes, the Walk-In Centre at Boots in Broadmead, Bristol will also close from 3 April with staff redeployed to MIUs and other urgent care services.
A public information campaign will also begin this week to make sure the message is heard.
Minor injuries units (MIUs) and Urgent Care Centres treat children as well as adults. They can help with injuries that need attention urgently but are not critical or life-threatening, such as:
- sprains, strains, cuts and grazes
- arm, foot and leg injuries
- bites, minor burns and scalds
- broken bones
- minor head injuries
- eye problems such as scratches and foreign bodies in the eye.
Yate Minor Injury Unit: Yate West Gate Centre, 21 West Walk, Yate, Bristol BS37 4AX. Tel. 01454 315 355.
Minor Injury Unit, Clevedon. North Somerset Community Hospital Old Street Clevedon North Somerset BS21 6BS. Tel. 01275 546852.
Urgent Care Centre,South Bristol NHS Community Hospital, Hengrove Promenade, Hengrove, Whitchurch Lane, Bristol BS14 0DE. Tel. 0117 342 9692.
For further details of local minor injury services see www.sirona-cic.org.uk/
Minor illnesses include conditions that can be self-treated or are uncomplicated and do not require further investigation. Examples include dressings, eye soreness, earache, sore throats and minor lacerations or burns. Coughs are also classified as minor illness although people with potential coronavirus symptoms including a new, continuous cough or high temperature should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/)
When to use A&E
A&E is for serious and 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
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds.
If you’re not sure whether it’s an emergency, contact NHS 111 first to make sure you get the right care, first time
Further information about local urgent care services is available on the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG website at www.bnssgccg.nhs.uk/health-services