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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Winter patients are urged not to clog up Cumbria A&E wards

DOCTORS in Cumbria are calling on patients to avoid clogging up busy A&E departments – even though it means they may be visiting their surgeries more often.

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EMERGENCY CALL The Accident and Emergency department at Furness General Hopsital in Barrow. NHS leaders have urged people not to over-burden A&E departments unnecessarily in winter JON GRANGER REF:0442991

The GP-led NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group is backing a national campaign urging people to seek help as soon as they feel unwell.

The Earlier The Better drive is aimed at relieving pressure on already-strained accident and emergency departments during the winter.

It is designed to cut the amount of people needing emergency admission with illnesses which could have been treated earlier by self-care or community pharmacy services.

Dr Hugh Reeve, chairman of NHS Cumbria CCG, said: “During the winter months, when people are more likely to have falls in icy conditions, have breathing difficulties due to the cold weather, and winter viruses are affecting many people, the health services are in great demand.

“What we don’t need at such a busy time is people turning up at A&E with minor injuries and ailments.”

Dr Reeve is urging patients to take steps to avoid over-reliance on health services.

He said: “If you are feeling unwell, your local pharmacist can provide expert advice to help you manage your long-term condition, or can help you if you have a bad cough, a cold or sore throat.

“They’ll also tell you if they think you should see a doctor.”

Dr Reeve said a website designed by NHS Cumbria CCG for smartphones, tablets and computers, means people can access information about where to get medical care out of hours.

He added: “It also appeals to the public not to go to A&E departments this winter unless they genuinely have a serious or life-threatening health problem.”

Meanwhile, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is advising people to use the county’s out-of-hours service for some emergencies.

Cumbria Health on Call provides specialist services after doctors’ surgeries close.

For out-of-hours assistance call 03000 247247.

The NHS Cumbria CCG website address is www.choosewellcumbria.co.uk

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