People are being urged to think twice before using A&E and keep it free for the seriously ill and injured.
Winter is the busiest time of year for NHS hospitals across the country, particularly for accident and emergency departments.
Often these patients have multiple health problems, longer stays in hospital and need substantial support at home to be safely discharged.
“The seriously ill and injured are our priority but we continue seeing patients with minor illnesses and injuries that could be dealt with elsewhere,” said Chief Operating Officer Therese Patten.
“Cuts, bruises, sprains, coughs and colds are not normally emergencies. They can usually be treated at home with help from a pharmacist, by a GP or in a NHS walk-in centre.
“A&E is for people with medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, strokes, and serious illnesses and injuries. Patients with conditions like these will always come first, which means less serious cases may wait longer.”
Therese added: “We’re fortunate to have a brilliant, dedicated team here at Southport and Ormskirk. That’s why I’m asking: examine your options and keep A&E free for the seriously ill and injured. It could be you or your family who need our team’s help in an emergency one day.”
WHERE TO GET HELP AND ADVICE
Pharmacists: They’re experts in medicines and use their expertise to advise on common problems, such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking. They can also help you decide whether you need to see a health professional.
Family doctor: A GP or a GP out of hours service will help with injuries or illnesses that won’t go away.
NHS walk-in centres: For people needing urgent help with minor illnesses or injuries no appointment is necessary at a walk-in centre. West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk hospital is open from 8am to 7.30pm all year round. Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre at The Concourse is open from 8am to 7.30pm weekdays and from 9am to 5pm on weekends.
By phone: NHS 111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.