Holiday hospital pressures alert

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WIGAN patients are being urged to ensure they pick up medication in good time and do not over-burden accident and emergency services this Jubilee weekend.

Clinicians today asked local folk to help them out over the holidays by only dialling 999 for genuine emergency cases and not to visit A&E unless it is strictly necessary.

Bank Holidays usually see a spike in calls to emergency services and visits to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) hospitals as GP practices are closed, but hospitals are asking folk use their high street pharmacies to deal with minor ailments instead.

Clinical director Ayaz Abbasi said: “A&E and 999 teams always find ourselves dealing with all kinds of cases that people are really able to deal with themselves, like period pains, hangovers, even splinters.

“The last thing people need to be doing over the Bank Holiday is sitting in an emergency department for hours when they don’t need to be there.

“Having lots of people waiting in A&E who could really have been helped by their pharmacist means that it can take longer for us to respond to and treat genuine emergencies such as people with heart problems, suspected stroke or severe breathing difficulties, or who are seriously injured.”

In addition, Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust (ALW PCT) is advising those with long-term conditions who require daily medication to ensure they pick up their repeat prescriptions early as pharmacies will be operating for limited hours over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chairman of Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The last thing we want is for people to become poorly and have to spend part of their Bank Holiday in hospital, so we are appealing to everyone to ensure they have enough medication to see them through the break.”

ALW PCT is also backing the NHS’s Choose Well campaign, which aims to educate people about which service is best placed to deal with any problem they may have.Advice, including guides to self-treating a range of common complaints is also available online at www.nhs.uk, and can be downloaded to your mobile phone at www.northwest.nhs.uk/qr/