Residents asked not to go to A&E unless they have serious or life threatening condition

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NHS Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG are urging the public to choose their health services wisely and to think twice before they go to A&E. If local residents have an urgent medical need that is not serious or life threatening, they should call NHS 111 or contact their GP.

Melanie Craig, Acting Accountable Officer at NHS Southend CCG, said: “Through our winter campaign we have been promoting alternative to the A&E department where people can ask for medical advice, including GPs, local pharmacists and NHS111. However, the hospital remains under great pressure and more than ever we need to make sure that emergency services are free to help people with the greatest need.”

Dr Roger Gardiner, local GP and clinical lead for NHS111 said: “When patients dial 111 they are put through to highly trained call handlers, supported by experienced nurses or paramedics. They will be clinically assessed and either given appropriate advice or referred directly to the most appropriate service which can deal with their injury or illness. This may range from dentist, pharmacy, community service to out-of-hours GP, or in some cases an ambulance.”

Research by NHS England shows one in three of all people who call NHS111 would otherwise have gone straight to A&E - but having phoned 111, three quarters of them are not directed to A&E. Calls to the NHS111 service are free to the caller from both landlines and mobile phones. NHS111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.