This Easter make sure you use A and E responsibly
With Easter just around the corner, NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group is urging local patients to think before visiting their A&E department over the four day weekend.
As many prepare to tackle the garden, dabble in DIY and celebrate with friends and family, residents are being reminded that A&E is only for emergencies, and that alternative health services are available locally over the Easter holidays.
Dr Marc Rowland, for NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group, said people should not use the ambulance service and A&E as an alternative to their GP if their GP surgery is closed over Easter.
"Easter is a busy time for local A&E departments and there are other health services in Lewisham that can provide quicker and more appropriate treatment if you have a minor injury or ailment," he said.
"Using the right health service for your needs can prevent you waiting many hours in A&E, ensure you receive more appropriate treatment more quickly and free up local A&E staff to help those patients with the most serious conditions.
"If your GP surgery is closed, A&E isn't the only option. Calling the 24/7 free NHS number 111 or visiting the NHS Choices website can help you to find the right service.
"Patients should also plan ahead and make sure they have enough medicines to see them through the Easter holidays when their GP surgery is closed."
Alternative NHS services available to Lewisham residents over Easter:
· Self-care – people suffering from minor ailments such as coughs and colds, grazes and hangovers should treat themselves at home or visit their local pharmacy
· Pharmacies – your local pharmacist is qualified to offer advice on health issues and medication as well as treat headaches, an upset stomach and other common illnesses
· Urgent Care Centre (UCC) – with no appointment necessary your local urgent care centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks. The Lewisham UCC, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham High Street, London SE13 6LH or call 020 8333 3000 or visit www.lewishamandgreenwich.nhs.uk
· Walk-in centre - with no appointment necessary your local walk in centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks. The Waldron Health Centre can be found at Suite 3 Waldron Health Centre, Amersham Vale, London SE14 6LD.
· GP out-of-hours service – If you need to see a doctor when your GP surgery is closed, GP out-of-hours services are available from SELDOC (South East London Doctors Cooperative) on 020 8693 9066. A call handler will take your details and a local GP will call you back within 60 minutes or sooner if necessary. If you need to be seen, a convenient appointment can be booked on the same day with SELDOC at their sites at Lewisham Urgent Care Centre, Dulwich Community Hospital in East Dulwich or Gracefield Gardens walk in centre in Streatham.
· People can download a guide to local alternative services from here.