Health leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) are urging patients to use the right NHS service for their needs, following high levels of demand for local urgent and emergency care services.
Health and care services in the area are experiencing significant pressures following the Christmas and New Year period and the NHS and local authorities are working together to manage demand and ensure patients continue to receive safe and effective care.
Patients can help to reduce pressure by using the most appropriate NHS service for their needs and helping loved ones in hospital to return home as soon as they are fit for discharge.
Local GP practices, minor injuries units, pharmacies and NHS 111 are all open and available to help with non-emergency conditions.
Local GP and CCG Clinical Lead for Primary Care, Dr Martin Jones said:
Over the festive season our healthcare system has been incredibly busy, with a particularly high number of attendances and admissions into our A&E departments.
We have well-rehearsed plans in place to manage this demand but we expect the pressures to continue over the weekend and we’re asking the public to help us by using the right services for their needs and using A&E for serious or life-threatening conditions only.
There is a wide range of alternatives to A&E for non-emergency conditions available in the community, ranging from GPs to pharmacists and minor injuries units and if you need help urgently but aren’t sure where to go, you can also contact NHS 111 for immediate advice and guidance.
Above all please remember that if you’re feeling under the weather or have a minor injury, A&E is not necessarily the place for you and you may experience a long wait. In these cases please contact your GP, visit your minor injury unit or contact NHS 111.
We’re also asking people who have loved ones in hospital to support them to return home as soon as they are fit for discharge. Prompt discharge is always better for patients, and helps to relieve pressure on our busy hospitals.
Alternatives to A&E
NHS 111 is for people who urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed online or by phone. The service can book an appointment for patients to see a GP out of hours if clinically appropriate.
Minor injuries units and urgent care centres are available at South Bristol Community Hospital, Clevedon and Yate offering fast, local treatment of minor injuries such as strains, sprains and broken bones, without a trip to A&E. They are available from 8am to 8pm (8.30pm for Clevedon unit), seven days a week.
The Walk-In Centre at 59 Broadmead offers similar services to minor injuries units and can also help with minor illnesses and emergency contraception and advice. It’s open 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday (11am – 7pm on Sundays).
GP practices are open throughout Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and you can now also book appointments on weekday evenings as well as during weekends – speak to your local practice for details.
Pharmacists can advise on very minor ailments and conditions and can also provide help with managing long-term conditions. Many have confidential consultation rooms.