Think twice before going to A&E

South west Essex health experts are urging people to think twice before going to A&E.

Basildon University Hospital is currently on 'red alert’ which means there is extreme pressure on services.

The NHS uses a national internal alert system based on the colours green, amber, red and black to rank how busy a local health and social care system is.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Trust declared an 'internal critical incident' on Thursday 27 October due to a lack of beds at Basildon Hospital. A internal critical incident is a step up from ‘black’ alert and  is a very unusual step for the Trust. The hospital has since downgraded from 'black' to 'red alert'. 

Basildon and Brentwood CCG continues to support Basildon Hospital by urging people to help by using alternative services wherever possible.

For anyone unsure of which service is the right one for their illness or injury, the NHS Choices website provides a symptom checker and information on how best to treat a wide range of less urgent problems. NHS Choices also has a search facility for local pharmacies, minor injury units and GP surgeries, including opening hours.

People with minor illnesses and lesser injuries should seek help and advice from their local pharmacist or GP. Orsett Minor Injuries Unit is also open from 10am-7.30pm, seven days a week with more information on the Minor Injuries Unit available at http://www.nelft.nhs.uk/services-bsbwtk-minor-injuries-unit

NHS 111 is the number to call when you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency.

We would remind everyone that hospital A&E departments are for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions only.

Date: 28 October 2016

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