With Easter just around the corner, health chiefs are urging people in Merseyside to consider how they use 999 and A&E over the four-day weekend.
As many prepare to dabble in DIY or light up the BBQ to celebrate with friends and family, health chiefs are reminding residents to think before dialling 999 or visiting accident and emergency departments over the bank holiday.
Following the success of its winter ‘Know your Options’ campaign, NHS Merseyside is raising awareness about the range of alternative services that are available right on residents’ doorsteps throughout the Borough. These include GP out-of-hours services, Walk-in Centres and pharmacists who are qualified to offer advice and treat common, everyday illnesses.
A&E attendances nationally are on the rise and it is crucial that they are only used by those who believe they have an immediately life-threatening illness or emergency health problem, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents.
Trish Bennett, Director of Service Improvement for NHS Merseyside said: “With the increasing pressure on emergency services over the busy Easter period, we are stressing the importance of people using alternative local health services and taking care of themselves to ensure A&E and the 999 number are kept free for genuine medical emergencies. When people are taking up the time of hospital and ambulance staff with minor issues which could be dealt with much closer to home, people with life threatening illnesses are not being seen to as quickly as they could be.
“It is vital to remember that the ambulance service and A&E should not be used as an alternative to your GP if your surgery is closed. If you require medical assistance outside of normal surgery hours this bank holiday, Knowsley have a wide range of alternative health services available including GP out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and pharmacists who are qualified to offer advice and treat common, everyday illnesses.”
Alternative NHS services available to Merseyside residents: