Think before a visit to hospital Doncaster doctors urge
Senior doctors in Doncaster are urging people in the borough to choose their health services wisely as the summer holidays get under way.
They say that the warmer weather can often bring with it many health risks – from cuts and scrapes in the garden, to not drinking enough water whilst out in the sunshine, summer can be one of the busiest times for the Emergency Department (ED).
This summer, the local NHS is asking for the people of Doncaster to think before they travel to hospital.
Consultant at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, Dr Nick Mallaband, said: “Please remember to only use the Emergency Department when it’s just that – an emergency. If your illness or injury is not life-threatening, there are plenty of alternative services that you can access, ensuring you get the right treatment, at the right time and in the right place.”
In August 2018, the ED at Doncaster Royal Infirmary cared for over 14,000 people, a significant rise over the year before. Nurses and doctors within the service are urging residents to instead consider using the many alternative health services that are on offer in Doncaster, leaving urgent care to those that need it most.
Chairman of NHS Doncaster CCG and Bentley GP, Dr David Crichton (pictured), said: “The Emergency Department is now incredibly busy throughout the year but over summer holidays, there tends be a spike in demand with people showing up with minor injuries and illness which means people who need more urgent care take longer to be seen.
“If your condition is not serious, the ED may not be the best place for you to come to. You can often be seen much quicker and closer to home by visiting a pharmacist who can give advice and suggest treatments to help with summer ailments such as cuts, allergies and upset tummies.
“If you’re ever unsure where to get the most appropriate care, call NHS 111 who will help your query.”
The ED isn't the only option if your GP surgery is closed. Across Doncaster there are many out of hours services residents can access including extended hours appointments, the Same Day Health Centre and GP out of hours service, with local pharmacists often able to help with minor injuries or concerns.
You can also find the right services near you using the newly released ‘Doncaster Choose Well’ app, available to download on smartphones (search ‘Choose Well Doncaster) or call NHS111 if you’re unsure where to go.
Dr Crichton also highlights the importance of being prepared for the increase in temperature and outdoor activity by taking simple steps to stay safe including:
• Wearing cool clothing and keeping out of sun peak times 11am-3pm
• Drink plenty of water to keep well hydrated
• Keep a check on elderly family, friends and neighbours
• Have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home so you can self-treat easily.
Dr Crichton said: “Taking time to think about yours and your family’s health and wellbeing over summer is a really simple way to reduce the risk of becoming unwell.
“Please make a note of the local services on offer so you know where to access medical support when needed.
“Plan your family days out but consider heat alerts and put spare bottles of water and sun protection in the car so you can keep hydrated and safe in the sun.”
To find out more about the out of hours services in the area visit www.nhs.uk/service-search website.