Paisley and Renfrewshire has had its first few frosty mornings in early December, so winter is truly upon us, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is urging people to use their health services wisely as we head into their busiest time of the year.
A survey of adult Emergency Departments (EDs) within Greater Glasgow and Clyde has revealed that many patients are regularly presenting with minor illness or injury.
Based on recent activity, medics have identified a list of the Top Ten illnesses that do not require a trip to ED. Instead, patients should seek advice or treatment from either NHS Inform, their local Pharmacist, optometrist, Dentist, NHS 24 or their GP/ Out of hours GP.
The top ten includes:
- Cold symptoms, Nasal congestion or a simple sore throat
- Skin complaints such as Acne, Eczema or Athlete’s foot
- Cold sores, Warts or verrucae
- Period pain
- Haemorrhoids (piles)
- Hay fever or mild allergies
- Head lice / scabies
- Mouth ulcers/Dental pain
Alastair Ireland, Emergency Department Clinical Director at Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: “We are all aware of what a precious resource our NHS is and we need to use it wisely, and that is particularly important in Winter.
“Those with serious or life-threatening illness and injuries will always be given priority, meaning those with less serious issues may face longer waits. This is the beginning of winter and we really need patients to carefully consider the best place to be if they are unwell, in order that those who really need hospital care can receive it.
“We’ve come up with a list to give patients some guidance on when it’s correct to seek emergency treatment and when it’s not. Hopefully it means that they seek advice from the correct place, meaning they are treated quicker elsewhere, allowing us to concentrate on what we should be treating – real emergencies.”
There are four adult Emergency Departments within Greater Glasgow and Clyde – at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock. All adult ED departments also have facilities to treat minor injuries but patients will always be seen quicker at the stand-alone MIUs.
The advice comes just a few weeks after the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow experienced its busiest day ever since opening in 2015 with a record number of patients being seen in 24 hours.
On that day, 54% of those treated were suffering from a minor illness which could have been dealt with elsewhere.
Kevin Hill, NHSGGC’s Director of Women and Children’s Services said: “Waiting times at the RHC are kept consistently low, and we see, treat and admit or discharge between 97%-99% of patients within four hours and our staff are rightly proud of this remarkable record.
“On our busiest ever day – 12 November – we saw 270 patients in the Children’s ED, compared to a usual day when we see less than 200. Of those patients, 145 were suffering from a minor illness which could have been treated either by an Out of Hours GP, pharmacist or with advice from NHS 24 or using online information from NHS Inform.
“There are a range of NHS experts who are available to help when your child is ill or injured. Our Emergency Department plays an important role in that but parents should only use the emergency department when it is an emergency.”