Record numbers use accident and emergency

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has reported a record number of attendances at Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments during June and July 2011.

Over the two summer months, 19,891 people attended A&E, with 294 of them having to be re-directed on to a more appropriate NHS service.

Liz Moore, Director of Integrated Care and Emergency Services – NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: “It is really important that people know who turn to when they are ill, not only to make sure they get the most appropriate care, but also to ensure that we are using NHS resources properly.

“June and July have seen record levels of attendance at NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s A&E departments and while I’m delighted with the way our staff have coped with demand, a significant number of the people who attended A&E did not actually need emergency care. Ideally they would have used one of NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s other services such as NHS 24, their community pharmacist, GP or dentist.”

In an effort to minimise the number of inappropriate attendances at A&E, NHS Ayrshire and Arran promotes the “When you’re ill, know who to turn to” campaign.

The campaign, which includes posters, leaflets, banners and adverts, aims to help people make informed decisions about their health care and the services they may require.

Those who attend A&E, are also made aware that they could be re-directed if their symptoms can be dealt with more appropriately by another service. The campaign materials clearly outline the eight main options available to people needing health care assistance, alongside a list of symptoms that could be appropriately dealt with by each option.

These include minor injuries – if you require urgent care for a minor injury such as a cut, minor burn or sprain you can be seen within the A&E department at Crosshouse Hospital, Ayr Hospital or Arran Memorial Hospital. 

Girvan Community Hospital also runs a minor injuries service from Monday – Friday (8.30am-5.30pm)

As part of the public education campaign, anyone attending Accident and Emergency who could have used another service will be given one of the “When you’re ill, know who to turn to” leaflets so they can refer to it in the future, if they are unsure about which service to use.