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Alternatives to A&E

Poole Hospital continues to see a high demand for services, and is appealing to the public to use NHS emergency services wisely.

Residents are reminded of alternatives to A&E, which should only be used in an emergency for life-threatening injuries or serious illness.

There is a range of walk-in and minor injuries units across the county, and many patients will be seen sooner than in A&E departments.

A full list of minor injuries units can be found here.

Accessing the right care in the right place supports hospitals to provide life-saving emergency care by ensuring only those that need A&E do so.

The public is also reminded about responsible visiting in order to help restrict the spread of illnesses like norovirus.

Other alternatives to A&E include:

  • Seeing your doctor: for medical advice, prescriptions and examinations and for persistent illness. You should be able to get an emergency appointment with your surgery as soon as possible, Monday to Friday.
  • GP out of hours service: if your local practice is closed, listen to the answerphone message which should advise you how to contact out of hours services. Advice can also be sought by calling 111 (see below).
  • NHS 111:  if you are unsure of your symptoms and want expert advice, dial 111. The service is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the call is free. You will be assessed and advised on the best course of action to take and whether or not you need to seek professional help.
  • Pharmacy: pharmacies offer more than just prescriptions. They can advise on bugs and viruses, coughs and colds, aches and pains, tummy upsets and allergies.

Dr Angus Wood, medical director, said: “The public can support us at this time by ensuring they do not visit if they have, or have recently had, flu or other winter illness like norovirus, and by using our services appropriately.

“Many patients can be treated appropriately and often sooner by a GP or pharmacist, or at a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit. For those unsure where to access care, the NHS 111 service can provide a range of advice and support.”

12 February 2018


Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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