Corporate Information

Countess appeal for people to use emergency department sensibly

One in three people are still using The Countess of Chester Hospital’s accident and emergency department for conditions that could be treated elsewhere.

In the run up to its busiest winter months, the hospital has been reviewing cases from January to October 2016 to understand what it might be able to do differently to ease pressures at the front door.

Medical director at The Countess Ian Harvey said: “We believe up to 38% of Countess emergency department attendances could have been avoided or seen in an alternative healthcare setting. The national average is about 25%. This means one in three patients could have been dealt with differently – either by calling NHS 111, GP out of hours or arranging a daytime GP appointment.”

Ian Harvey a&e

Examples of what the emergency department team is dealing with in the cases reviewed as part of this work includes:

  • An elderly parent brought in for a check-up ahead of family going on holiday
  • A woman calling in to request that her contraceptive implant is removed
  • A person with worsening knee pain calling in to ask for crutches
  • A young patient with tummy pain seen by a surgeon in the morning, re-attending in the evening to ask for official reassurance it was not a cancer
  • Requests to deal with infected toe and thumb nails
  • An individual needing stitches removed 
  • A request to check an ear, in case a cotton bud was left in it earlier in the week
  • A parent looking for advice regarding possible chicken pox in their child
  • Older people brought in by a concerned friend or relative worried about leaving them alone at home

Ian Harvey added: “We would be happy to see these patients in the NHS, but not in the Accident and Emergency department. This unnecessary overcrowding is delaying the treatment of genuine emergencies. If your nearest and dearest is ill, you don’t want their life saving treatment to be delayed. So please use the A&E services wisely.

“The run up to Christmas and the first few weeks of January always sees local NHS services under pressure. Our patients also keep us going at times like this, and we ask that those coming to the hospital bear with us while we are busy. Those with the most serious clinical needs will be prioritised and treated first. Other less urgent cases may face longer waits.”

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