It is critical that our Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are able to help the patients who really need them.
Many people visit A&E when they could have been seen by a different healthcare professional. By finding the right person to talk to, you will get the most appropriate treatment.
Before going to A&E, think about whether you should visit:
- A pharmacy – this can be a quick way of accessing medical help and advice as you don’t need an appointment and you can speak to your pharmacist in confidence.
- Your GP – if it is a condition that your pharmacist cannot treat, or for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, prescriptions, medical examinations, and referral to specialist services, visit your GP.
- A walk-in service – you do not need an appointment to visit an urgent care centre, minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.
- A dentist – emergency dental care services are available for those in pain requiring emergency treatment.
If you still need to go to A&E
Remember that A&E should only be used in extreme circumstances – if it’s a serious or life-threatening situation. If you access A&E inappropriately, you may be turned away and directed to another NHS service.
- Severe chest pain
- Suspected heart attack or stroke
- Suspected meningitis
- Suspected broken bones
- Breathing difficulties
- Sudden and severe headaches
- Severe burns
- Severe injuries requiring hospital treatment.