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Health chiefs urge patients to stay away from A&E unless absolutely necessary

Health chiefs are encouraging local residents to stay away from A&E during the Christmas period. Hospitals everywhere are under pressure as they manage the increased demand over the Christmas and New Year break.

This is why residents are encouraged to use alternatives to A&E and advising them on what to do if they need help urgently.

Residents are also being reminded to stock up their medicine cabinets, plan ahead and make sure they have enough prescription medication to see them through the holidays.

Dr Preeti Shukla, Clinical Lead at both NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said:

“Christmas and New Year is the busiest time of year for the NHS which is why the Accident and Emergency departments only have the capacity to treat people with life threatening injuries or illnesses.

“This is why we are encouraging local residents to use alternatives to A&E. Please do not attend A&E if you are suffering from common winter illnesses such as flu, coughs and colds. These can all be treated at home with the help of a number of remedies including paracetamol and ibuprofen.

“If you are taking regular medication, make sure you have enough to last you through the holidays and leave plenty of time to order your repeat prescriptions from your GP.”

Where to go instead of A&E:

  • NHS 111: available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 356 days of the year. You should call NHS 111 if you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency.
  • Pharmacy: your local pharmacy can provide expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses.
  • Walk-in Centre
  • NHS Choices: https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx

Always use alternatives to A&E over the festive period and only go to your local hospital if you have a life threatening injury or illness.

If you need help or advice call NHS 111 and to find out about treatments to common winter illnesses visit the NHS Choices website: https://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx

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