NHS Fife is reminding local people to use their Accident and Emergency Department responsibly by accessing the right care in the right place.
Accident and Emergency Departments care for those who have a life-threatening emergency. With public health measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 easing, the Accident and Emergency Department at the Victoria Hospital is currently seeing more patients through its doors each day than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with numbers exceeding even the traditionally busy winter period.
While the majority of patients who present at the Accident and Emergency are using the service appropriately, there continues to be a significant number of people attending who could be seen more appropriately by their nearest Minor Injuries Unit, their local pharmacy or their GP. This adds to the pressure within the busy Accident and Emergency Department, leads to longer waiting times for those attending and makes it more difficult to maintain appropriate social distancing within waiting areas.
Changes were made last year to urgent care provision with the launch of the ‘Right Care, Right Place’ initiative. This new way of delivering urgent care has been designed to help people get the right care in the right place whilst reducing the pressure on busy frontline NHS services.
Those with life-threatening conditions including suspected heart attacks or strokes, severe breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, or severe injury should continue to go straight to A&E or call 999.
Anyone who thinks they may need A&E where their condition is not life-threatening should call NHS 24 on 111, where they can be assessed or directed towards the most appropriate service for them. If A&E is the most appropriate place to provide the right care, patients will either be directly referred to A&E by NHS 24 or to a telephone or video consultation with a senior clinician.
If you are required to attend A&E, patients are asked to attend alone wherever possible to enable safe physical distancing within the busy waiting areas.
NHS Fife’s Medical Director, Dr Chris McKenna, added:
“The A&E Department at the Victoria Hospital is busier than it has been for a very long time, both due to a rise in COVID-19 cases and people presenting with other illnesses and injuries.
“It’s vital that only those with life or limb saving emergencies attend A&E as this allows our clinical staff to devote more time to those people who need it most. If you need urgent medical attention and it’s not life-threatening, please NHS 24 on 111 where you will be assessed over the telephone and referred to the right healthcare professional for your needs.
“I would also ask people to be patient during their time in A&E, as they may have to wait longer than usual to be seen. Whilst I appreciate long waits are frustrating, our staff are working exceptionally hard during challenging circumstances and I would urge people to be mindful of this by showing not only patience – but also kindness and courtesy.”
The NHS Inform website remains a great source of advice on common symptoms, guidance for self-help and where to go if further medical care is needed.
For further information on where to access the right medical care, visit NHSinform.scot/right-care.