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Richmond GPs ask residents to think before visiting A&E this bank holiday weekend

Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding local patients that A&E is for life-threatening illnesses only ahead of the May bank holiday weekend.

As residents prepare to get outdoors and enjoy the three day weekend, they are being encouraged to think before visiting their A&E department as alternative health services are available locally. 

Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and Chair of Richmond CCG, said people should not use the ambulance service and A&E as an alternative to their GP if their GP practice was closed on the bank holiday Monday. 

“There are other health services in Richmond that can provide quicker and more appropriate treatment if you have a minor injury or ailment,” he said. 

“If your GP practice is closed and you haven’t got a life threatening illness or injury you can call NHS 111 for free, 24 hours a day, or visit the NHS Choices website to find the right service for you.

“By using the right health service, you’ll receive quicker, more appropriate treatment and free up local A&E staff to help those patients with the most serious conditions.
“It’s also important to plan ahead and make sure you have enough medicines to see you through the bank holiday weekend, when your GP practice will be closed.”

Alternative NHS services available to Richmond residents over the May bank holiday:

• 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 or other common illnesses
• NHS 111 – NHS 111 is a free phone service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It offers a one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms
• Walk-In Centres – 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.  There are two walk-in centres in the Richmond area:

Teddington Memorial Hospital, Hampton Road, Teddington, TW11 0JL.
Open all bank holiday weekend, 8am-9pm (X-ray, 12pm-5pm).

Queen Mary’s Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Roehampton Lane, SW15 5PN.
Open all bank holiday weekend, 8am-7pm (X-ray, 10am-8pm).

 GP out-of-hours service – If you need to see a doctor when your GP practice is closed, you can access the Richmond GP out-of-hours service by phoning your local GP practice, where you will be automatically re-directed. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 free for access to the right service for you.

People can download a guide to local alternative services here.

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Notes to editor:

• 40 per cent of people who attend A&E departments are discharged requiring no treatment
• The cost of each A&E assessment is about £68