Palace Road Surgery
Appropriate Use of A&E
When Should A&E be Used?
Examples of when it is right and appropriate to attend A&E without delay are:
- Major injuries such as injuries from road traffic accidents
- Falls from a considerable height
- Major head injuries
- Severe breathing difficulty
- Severe chest pain
- Severe haemorrhage
- Extensive burns
When it is Inappropriate to Use A&E Services?
Unfortunately, many people attend A&E with very minor problems. This makes it difficult for A&E staff to deal with the volume of cases, involves delays for patients and incurs some considerable costs. The following are examples of minor problems for which A&E attendance is not appropriate. Generally, if the person is unwell, but alert and speaking without impaired consciousness or severe breathing difficulty, then they do not need to attend:
- Flu-like illnesses, coughs, earache, back ache
- Sore throats
- Minor breathlessness or wheezing
- Abdominal pain (unless extreme or associated with collapse)
- Urinary difficulties (unless completely unable to pass water)
- Vaginal bleeding (unless very heavy and associated with faintness)
- Rashes (unless it appears like spontaneous bleeding under the skin or the person appears very unwell)
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Simple bites and stings
- Social problems
- Emergency contraception
Such conditions can generally be safely managed by your GP, Nurse, Practice Nurse and in some cases the individual themselves. We urge patients to avoid unnecessary use of A&E and to contact the practice in the first instance. We are open between 8.00am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday and with extended hours on Saturday mornings from 9am-12:30pm where we provide comprehensive services. We will endeavour to see patients with medically urgent problems on the day during the emergency clinic between 9am -11am Monday to Friday.
We also have Health Care Assistants who advises patients. Most pharmacies can also advise on minor illness and can provide medication to help you manage your condition.