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At a time when St Mary’s Hospital is under significant pressure, patients with minor illnesses are still attending the Urgent Care Service (UCS) for advice and treatment without following the advice on treatment of minor illness or phoning 111 first.

Despite advice given to make good use of the full range of services available on the Island to help treat minor illnesses and conditions, such as Pharmacies and NHS111, doctors at the hospital are still being overwhelmed with people who are visiting the Urgent Care Service with minor illnesses and conditions which could be treated without a long wait or the need to travel into Newport.

Mark Pugh, Executive Medical Director at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said:

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“Whilst we fully appreciate that when a person is unwell, they want advice on how they can get better, the Urgent Care Service is not the right place for most minor conditions which we still see coming through our doors. The volume of people attending with non urgent needs is having an impact on our ability to attend to the very sick and those who need urgent attention.

“People are having a long wait because we have to prioritise more urgent cases to be seen for things which could be self treated or much better managed by a Pharmacist or GP and often much quicker, especially if people make use of the NHS111 service or online advice services such as NHS Choices or What0-18 ( It is particularly worrying that a significant number of individuals seem to take no responsibility for their own health.”

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust advises and encourages individuals to call 111 before walking into the Urgent Care Service at St Mary’s Hospital. The former Beacon Health Centre has been redesigned as a service for patients with an urgent care need. Over recent days individuals have attended the service with conditions which could have been effectively treated elsewhere with a shorter waiting time. These conditions include:

Back pain

Back pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their life. It may be triggered by bad posture while sitting or standing, bending awkwardly, or lifting incorrectly. It’s not generally caused by a serious condition. In most cases back pain will improve in a few weeks or months, although some people experience long-term pain or pain that keeps coming back.

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A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It’s very common and usually clears up on its own within a week or two.


Ear ache

Earache is a common problem, particularly in children. It can be worrying, but it’s usually only caused by a minor infection and will often get better in a few days without treatment.  It’s not always necessary to see your GP if you or your child have earache. The pain will often improve in a few days and there are things you can do to help in the meantime.



There’s usually no need to see your GP if you or your child have a mild cough for a week or two.



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