Please only use A&E for real emergencies

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Accident and Emergency departments should be left for real emergencies only during the festive season states NHS Tayside.

To help ease the burden on A&E people are being asked to make sure they know where to get the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time.

During holiday periods, when GP surgeries are closed, A&E departments see a significant rise in attendances despite one in three of those attending being able to receive treatment more appropriately by using a different service.

This can put extra pressure on staff when they may be needed for a real emergency.

When GP surgeries are closed (December 25 and 26, and January 1 and 2), or if you need advice on self care, please call NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24.

If you need to be seen, either a home visit will be arranged or you will be directed to your nearest Primary Care Emergency Centre (PCEC) or nurse-led Minor Injury and Illness Unit (MIIU).

Additionally, some pharmacies will be open over Christmas and New Year.

Dr Shobhan Thakore, consultant in accident and emergency said: “Over holiday periods, A&E can be very busy. We need to make sure that we are able to see people quickly if they need emergency care.

“Members of the public have always recognised that A&E is for those with genuine emergencies, however they are not always aware of what alternatives are out there, especially when their own GP is closed.

“This sometimes leads to them attending A&E only for us to have to explain that we cannot help. This is frustrating for them and diverts us from other patients.

“With some minor illnesses and injuries it is not always necessary to see a doctor or nurse.

“Helpful advice can be given by pharmacists and NHS 24. However, if you feel you need to see a doctor or nurse but your GP is closed and you don’t think it is an A&E problem, please phone NHS 24. They can give advice and, if necessary, put you in contact with the out-of-hours service.”