‘Don’t turn up at your hospital’s emergency department or call 999 unless it’s an emergency’ – Health plea to help busy A&E wards over New Year period

The warning comes after hospital bosses said staff faced unprecedented demand for services in the

The warning comes after hospital bosses said staff faced unprecedented demand for services in the region during Christmas. - Credit: Archant

Health chiefs have urged people to get medical treatment from pharmacists and other non-hospital services over the New Year period to help under-pressure emergency wards in Suffolk.

The warning comes after hospital bosses said staff faced “unprecedented demand” for services in the region during Christmas.

People with minor aches, pains and ailments were yesterday advised to visit their nearest pharmacy or call the free NHS 111 medical service to get treatment or medical advice.

A number of pharmacies in east and west Suffolk will be open to the public for New Year’s Day and staff at the centres will be able to give advice and information on different issues.

Pharmacists could help with skin conditions, minor cuts and bruises, coughs, colds, teething, allergies and indigestion.

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Some pharmacies will be open on New Year’s Day (and) you should not underestimate the knowledge of your pharmacist, who is an expert on medicines.

“They can offer help and advice for many medical conditions and offer over-the-counter medicine to help you deal with them.

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“If you have forgotten to order your regular medicine from your GP and have run out your pharmacist may be able to help by providing an emergency supply.

“Please remember to take your repeat slip or empty pack(s) with you to show the pharmacist what you usually take.

“Finally, please consider the hardworking hospital emergency department and 999 ambulance service staff.

“They will be very busy dealing with people who have a life-threatening condition, so please don’t turn up at your hospital’s emergency department or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. Keep those services for people who are very ill.”

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “GP surgeries will be open (today). If you have got an urgent medical question that cannot wait until then you should call NHS 111.

“The 111 service is open all day, every day and is free to call from landlines and mobiles.

“If you have got any medical concerns or questions about you or your family then simply call one of the Suffolk-based trained advisers who will be able to help you.”

A spokesman for the Ipswich and East Suffolk and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “Your local pharmacist can offer a great deal of help and advice on the best over the counter medication for you and your family.”

Pharmacies that are open on New Year’s Day:

Aldeburgh Aldeburgh Pharmacy 125 High Street, 12:00 – 14:00

Bury St Edmunds Asda Pharmacy Western Way, 10:00 – 16:00

Bury St Edmunds Boots Pharmacy 11-13 Cornhill, 10:00 – 17:00

Bury St Edmunds Sainsbury’s Pharmacy Bedingfield Way, 10:00 – 17:00

Hadleigh Mill Pharmacy Market Place, 10:00 – 12:00

Haverhill Sainsbury’s Pharmacy Haycocks Road, 10:00 – 17:00

Ipswich Asda Pharmacy Goddard Road, 10:00 – 16:00

Ipswich Boots Pharmacy 5 Tavern Street, 10:30 – 16:30

Ipswich Sainsbury’s Pharmacy Felixstowe Road, Warren Heath, 10:00 – 17:00

Ipswich Sainsbury’s Pharmacy 40 Hadleigh Road, 10:00 – 19:00

Newmarket Boots Pharmacy 82 High Street, 10:00 – 16:00

Newmarket Lords Pharmacy The Guineas Shopping Centre, 12:00 – 14:00

Stowmarket Asda Pharmacy Wilkes Way, 10:00 – 16:00

Sudbury Boots Pharmacy 12-14 Market Hill, 10:00 – 16:00

Sudbury Sainsbury’s Pharmacy Armes Trading Est, Cornard Rd, 10:00 – 17:00

Lowestoft Asda Pharmacy Belvedere Road, Off Horn Hill, 10:00 – 16:00

Lowestoft High Street Pharmacy High Street Surgery, High Street, 10:00 – 12:00

Health services available:

NHS 111 – If you need urgent medical help that’s less than an emergency then you should call NHS 111 – open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you need to ask a medical question about you or a member of your family, if you think you need to go to A&E or just don’t know what to do, then call one of the Suffolk based advisers anytime, day or night.

YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY – Don’t forget your local pharmacist is an expert on medicines. Your pharmacist can offer you help and advice as well as over-the-counter medicine to treat many conditions. Many pharmacies are open long hours, including evenings and weekends, making it easy for you to access the right health advice. You can find the location of your nearest pharmacy at www.nhs.uk or simply call NHS 111.

GP PRACTICE – Book an appointment with your family doctor if you’ve got a long term condition such as a bad back. Don’t leave it until your condition becomes so serious you need to see an out of hours GP or end up in your hospital’s emergency department. EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT (A&E) and 999 – Please only go to your hospital’s emergency department or call 999 in a serious or life-threatening situation.