Do you really need to go to A&E?

Pharmacists can help with coughs and colds.
Pharmacists can help with coughs and colds.

People are again being asked to consider whether they really need to go to A&E following an exceptionally busy period at Bedford Hospital’s emergency department.

The number of patients turning up at A&E has been significantly higher than average this week and many could have been treated by other health services.

Bedford Hospital medical director Colette Marshall said: “Every year in autumn, we see an increase in patients coming to A&E with serious respiratory conditions. This combined with a rise in the number of frail and elderly patients admitted this week has resulted in the hospital being extraordinarily busy.”

“This means that those with less serious symptoms will have to wait longer, so we are asking people to consider whether they could receive quicker and more appropriate treatment elsewhere.”

In Bedfordshire, a GP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those that don’t have a problem that is an emergency can ring their practice for advice and, if it is closed, they will be transferred to an ouot of hours service.

Pharmacists can help with common conditions and minor injuries, such as headaches, back pains, coughs and colds, while Putnoe Walk In Centre is open from 8am to 6.30pm seven days a week.

To find out more visit www.nhs.uk.