A&E is for life-threatening cases only, say Barking and Dagenham doctors in new campaign

Barking Havering and Redbridge University HospitalsTrust staff (from left) A&E consultant Mr Siva Je

Barking Havering and Redbridge University HospitalsTrust staff (from left) A&E consultant Mr Siva Jeevan, Nurse Rebecca Goodwin, Matron Mary Feeney-Chirgwin, Health Care Assistant Sian Jipps, Consultant Dr Mir Ahmad - Credit: Archant

A&E is for life-threatening cases only, say GPs.

They launched a campaign to stop people using Accident and Emergency departments for minor illnesses and injuries yesterday.

Doctors from Barking and Dagenham stood outside Queen’s Hospital, Romford, alongside giant yellow statues showing common illnesses people should not go to A&E for.

Dr Waseem Mohi, chairman of Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A&E shouldn’t automatically be the place to go for any problem – it’s for the most serious, life threatening cases only.

“Inappropriate use of A&E increases waiting times for those patients who are genuinely in need of urgent medical attention.”

He said many people could be treated by a local pharmacist, GP, at a minor injuries unit or walk-in service, or even just by staying at home and looking after themselves.

It has been estimated that up to 40 per cent of visits to A&E end up with the patient receiving advice or guidance rather than actual treatment.

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Part of the campaign includes providing information on where to get the right care and treatment for more minor illnesses or injuries.

Mary Feeney-Chirgwin, A&E matron at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We treat people strictly in order of their clinical need in A&E.

“So if it isn’t a serious medical emergency, you could get faster treatment without coming to the hospital.”

“Our message is simple,” said Dr Mohi. “If it’s not a serious medical emergency, A&E is not the right choice.”

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