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a&e400An appeal is being made to Islanders to only use the hospital’s A&E Department if they really need to and consider using the 111 non-emergency helpline, pharmacies or GPs for non-urgent healthcare advice.

The Island’s health services, alongside those in Portsmouth and Southampton, have recently been under sustained pressure. The Emergency Department at St Mary’s Hospital is currently under substantial pressure with many patients waiting to be seen.

It is important that advice is sought early before conditions deteriorate and require a visit to A&E.

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Dr Mark Pugh, Executive Medical Director at the Trust, said:

“We would ask people on the Isle of Wight to really think about whether their problem needs them to attend the A&E Department. We would ask them to think about going to their pharmacy, we’d ask them to phone 111 and get advice and we’d ask them to go and see their GP. It’s important to do this before a condition deteriorates. Get advice early and avoid the need to visit A&E.

“Many patients are waiting a significant amount of time in the A&E Department to be seen. It’s not a great experience for patients who don’t need to be there; they should instead be using alternative services for non-urgent health advice.”

Additional nursing and medical staff are being put in place to cover the increase in demand. The situation has not affected outpatient appointments, and all those due to attend should still come to St Mary’s Hospital unless they have been contacted directly by a member of staff.

People are encouraged to take more care with their health where possible by either asking their local pharmacy staff for advice, looking for advice on line ( or self-treating using some basic medicine cabinet essentials.

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Common complaints which can be treated at home with advice from the pharmacist include:

  • Skin conditions, such as mild acne and mild eczema
  • Coughs and colds including nasal congestion and sore throat
  • Minor cuts and bruises
  • Constipation and haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Hay fever and allergies
  • Aches, pains, such as headaches, earaches and backaches
  • Indigestion, diarrhoea and threadworms
  • Period pain and thrush
  • Warts and verrucas, mouth ulcer and cold sores
  • Athletes foot
  • Nappy rash and teething

The 111 service, which is available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, should be called if medical help is needed fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency. 111 is free to call from landlines and mobiles and is staffed by a team of fully trained call advisers on the Island, supported by nurses, paramedics and doctors, who are on hand to assess callers’ needs and ensure they receive the right service as quickly as possible. It guides patients to a locally available service or provides appropriate advice and information.

GPs should be visited if you have concerns about a condition that will not go away, or is getting worse. It is important to visit your GP if you have a recurring condition that is affecting your ability to function on a day to day basis.

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