A&E: 32% of those attending Emergency Departments have minor ailments

Top doctors are urging people to only attend A&E if their condition is life-threatening

Queen Elizabeth hospital complex and Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria.

By Lucy Ashton

New figures show that, over a seven-day period, 32% of the people who attended Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s Emergency Department (A&E) did so with minor injuries and issues including sprained ankles, lower back pain, cut fingers and bruising.

Already stretched staff have also had to treat issues such as dental pain, period pain, and urinary tract infections, leading to an increase in waiting times.

With COVID-19 pressures continuing across Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde doctors are advising people to think about the best course of action before attending Emergency Departments.

Deputy Medical Director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Scott Davidson said: “We want to thank all of our staff for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time.

“Unfortunately, our Emergency Departments at hospitals such as the RAH, pictured right,  and Queen Elizabeth are still seeing people who do not need to be there, with minor ailments such as dental pain, urinary tract infections, sore throats of less than one day, period pain, cuts and scrapes. Attending A&E with these minor conditions not only adds to the pressures our staff are facing but also impacts on waiting times.

“We would urge everyone that, unless their condition is life-threatening, they should not attend an Emergency Department.

“If you are in any doubt about who you should contact, please call NHS24 on 111 to access the appropriate care. If necessary you will be given an onward referral to our Flow Navigation Centre Team, who will call you back and undertake a virtual consultation. This can be undertaken in your own home and may mean the condition can be treated without you leaving home. Should you need to attend an Emergency Department, the team will instruct you to do so.

“Our partner GP surgeries across the Board area are open, and the GP out of hours service for urgent problems over the weekend, can also be accessed by calling 111. Pharmacies also have expert knowledge and can advise on minor ailments, or give simple healthcare advice.

“I would like to thank members of the public who have continued to use 111 to access the correct service.”

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