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25 July 2014

Bedford Hospital’s A&E department is urging people to ask themselves: “Is A&E for me?” following one of the busiest weeks so far this year.  

With local schools recently breaking up for the summer holidays, the department is urging families to consider other services first, such as pharmacists, their local GP surgery or walk-in centre for minor injuries and illnesses.  

This week, more than 836 patients have attended the A&E department – more than during even the typically busy winter months.  

Stuart Lloyd, lead consultant for Bedford Hospital’s A&E department, said: “This week has been exceptionally busy, with an increase in both attendances and admissions. Whilst some of our patients have been acutely unwell, others could have received more appropriate treatment elsewhere.  

“Due to the demand in our department, this does mean that those with less serious symptoms will have to wait longer, so please remember that emergency medicine is just that – an emergency.”  

Dr Fran Ross, Bedfordshire CCG Urgent Care Lead, said: “A&E and 999 really should be just for emergencies. There are other services that may be more appropriate and convenient for treatment. “In Bedfordshire, a GP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When the GP is closed, ring the surgery’s out of hours phone number, or check their website to find out where to go or what to do.”

Pharmacist Arif Esmail from Wootton Pharmacy also said: “Pharmacists can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as headaches and back pains, coughs and colds, sore throat, upset stomach, and skin rashes.  

“We can help choose the best medicines such as pain killers and anti-histamines, and help people stock their medicine cabinet at home to treat minor illnesses and ailments.”  

For further information on the most suitable NHS service for what you need, please visit our 'Is A&E for me' page or NHS choices.

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