Leading local doctors have urged people to be aware of the alternatives to A&E this weekend and throughout the summer.
The call comes after West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) predicted that the weekend beginning tomorrow (Fri June 27) could be their busiest ever.
Stafford GP Dr Anne-Marie Houlder, Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“It’s a good time to remind people that the 999 ambulance service and A&E are there for life saving emergencies. If you need urgent NHS help or advice but it is not an emergency then there are alternatives locally.
“Pressure on the ambulance service has been increasing and it is important crews are not diverted away from real blue-light emergencies to deal with cases that could be dealt with elsewhere.”
• NHS 111 Dial 111 twenty-four-seven whatever your needs. And where there is an emergency, the NHS 111 call handlers can make arrangements for an ambulance if necessary.
• Your GP surgery: Your GP surgery deals with illnesses including chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma.
• Your GP out-of-hours service: If you call your GP out of hours needing urgent medical advice or assistance your call will be answered by or diverted to a specially trained healthcare professional, doctor or nurse who will assess you and offer a range of health support.
• Your pharmacist: Your local pharmacy can provide a whole range of services including free advice, support and guidance on all your health problems. Check the opening times of your local pharmacist via NHS Choices www.nhs.uk
• Your minor injuries unit: Your local Minor Injury Unit (MIU) can treat a wide variety of problems, including sprains and strains, insect and animal bites, minor head injuries and minor burns and scalds.