As the number of patients visiting A&E soars at Easter, don’t get caught in the crowds.
The number of people heading to A&E departments tends to rise during long bank holiday weekends, say health insiders, as many people wrongly assume there are no other options available should they hurt themselves, or fall ill.
A spokesman for the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust said last Easter was typical, with the number of people going to A&E at Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals significantly higher than at most other times.
In 2012 the numbers of people attending the two A&E departments between Good Friday and the following Tuesday was 1,988. That is 16 per cent higher than the same period over a typical June weekend last summer, and eight per cent higher than the most recent Friday-Tuesday period in March this year.
* 6 April – 10 April 2012 (Easter) 1,988 attendences
* 8 June – 12 June 2012 1,708
* 15 March – 19 March 2013 1,839
And the increase in numbers is not simply due to people having mild illnesses and minor cuts and bruises, added the spokesman.
“Over the long Easter weekend in 2012 there were 563 people admitted into hospital, via A&E at Worthing or St Richard’s – a massive 20 per cent higher than the most recent March weekend, and 15 per cent up on the numbers being seen last June.”
Dr Amanda Wellesley, A&E consultant and emergency care lead at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We do not want people to think they shouldn’t come to A&E – if they genuinely need the care of an emergency department, they we will be there for them.
“However, it is vital that people realise that there are alternatives, even at Easter, and that those alternatives might be more convenient, easier to reach, and faster.
“Nobody wants to spend their precious holidays waiting in A&E if they could be getting the care they need elsewhere. Choosing the right place to get treatment also helps to ensure that hard-pressed A&E staff are available –immediately – for those who need them most.”
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