Opinion: There are alternatives to A&E
PUBLISHED: 15:54 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 04 June 2019
Year on year, emergency departments up and down the country see more and more people.
At Newham Hospital alone more than 10,000 patients were seen last month and the busier we get, the longer you have to wait.
It doesn't have to be this way though. Not everyone who attends A&E has to be seen there. In fact, more than half the patients attending A&E could be seen by other health services or even self-care at home.
Keeping your medicine cabinet well stocked with supplies such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistamines and plasters will help you deal with any minor health issues, should the need arise, and as well as going to your GP, you can always talk to your pharmacist or call 111 if you need immediate advice from a healthcare professional.
As Newham's healthcare commissioners, we are working with local people, patients and providers to provide easier access to health services without the need to visit hospital.
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One example of how we are doing this is our recently launched crisis line for people with mental health needs. This gives people access to immediate support without having to go to A&E.
Too often we rely on going to A&E as our first port of call, but the NHS of the future - one that can provide high quality care for everyone who needs it - has to do things differently.
Personally, I know that no one wants to spend their time sitting in A&E, especially when there are quicker, easier ways to get advice and treatment.
I'd encourage everyone in Newham to take advantage of the wide range of services available to them.
Going to the right place ensures you get the help you need as quickly as possible, and it also helps free up A&E for people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.
We'll be at the Mayor's Newham Show on July 13-14 talking to local people about health services and making sure you know how to get the care you need in the quickest possible way.
- More information on health services in Newham can be found at newhamccg.nhs.uk/services/choosing-the-right-service.htm