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Local people are asked to think twice before visiting A&E as NHS pressures continue

Health and care leaders in Norfolk and Waveney are encouraging the public to keep A&E free for serious emergencies only.

With pressure continuing to mount on local NHS services, the Norfolk and Waveney health and care system is asking the public not to just to turn up to A&E but to think NHS 111 first or visit their local pharmacy or contact their GP.

There are alternative treatment options which are available, and people are being urged to remember that A&E is there to deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies.

The best way to get the medical help you need is to think NHS 111 first. Phone NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk for anything that feels urgent, or if you are unsure what to do. They can direct you to the most appropriate place and even book you a time slot for a GP consultation or A&E if necessary. In life-threatening emergencies dial 999.

Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with many minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. If your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they will direct you to the right service.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “All local health services continue to be very busy and staff in every area are continuing to work incredibly hard to make sure that everyone receives the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

“Please think twice about attending A&E unless it is an absolute emergency. There are many other services that can help for various ailments and injuries. By thinking of alternative services such as NHS 111 and local pharmacies people can do their bit to keep A&E for real emergencies. At the same time this also means they will get the right treatment in a timely manner, in the most appropriate place for them too.

“So please don’t turn up or walk into A&E or urgent care services without seeking advice from either NHS 111, GP or pharmacist, first – unless your condition is life threatening.”

The NHS Walk-In Centre at Rouen House on Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. The nurse-led centre can help with a range of minor illness and injuries, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, skin complaints etc. You will be triaged at the front door and then treated or signposted elsewhere if necessary.

The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) based at Cromer Hospital on Mill Road is open seven days-a-week, including Bank Holidays, from 8am to 7.45pm. Patients can receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures. The unit is able to advise over the phone if your injury is suitable for the MIU, please call 01603 646230.

If you need urgent mental health support, please call First Response on 0808 196 3494. First Response are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  

Lauren Seamons, Deputy Chief Officer for Norfolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee said:

“Pharmacists are experienced healthcare professionals and have a trained team of staff who are able to discuss and assess your symptoms when you feel unwell. Pharmacies are well placed in their local communities. They are often open late and at weekends and will advise you on the most appropriate care for your condition. If in doubt you can find a local pharmacy and their opening hours on https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy or call NHS 111 and they will be able to direct you to your nearest pharmacy if appropriate.”

A&E services in Norfolk and Waveney are available for the following conditions:

  • ​loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma such as a road traffic accident
  • suspected sepsis 

If you or any member of your household has coronavirus symptoms, please do not attend any NHS services in-person – call NHS 111 if you need urgent care or don’t know what to do.

Further guidance on when you should go to A&E can be found at:  https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/when-to-go-to-ae/

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