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Patients not seeking help elsewhere as A&E attendances drop

11 June 2020

Responding to the publication of May’s performance figures for A&E’s in England, President of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Dr Katherine Henderson said:

“While a reduction in the number of patients attending Emergency Departments has helped to ease overcrowding, it is worrying that patients aren’t seeking help elsewhere; calls to NHS 111 have not increased month on month meaning that some patients who may need help are not getting it.

“Patients should not be afraid to get emergency care. Emergency Departments are safe and if you are injured or seriously ill you should go right away.

“If patients have an issue but only have mild non-urgent symptoms it is important to seek help from the right source. Pharmacists, NHS 111 and GPs are all there to provide care.

“By choosing the right service patients can get the help they need while keeping the NHS safe and reducing the risk of further spread of coronavirus.

“But we need direction from government on this; an open and honest conversation is needed on how the NHS will deliver care, where to get help and what patients can expect in a COVID-19 endemic world. We also need to see an urgent deployment of resources to enable the physical redesign and rebuild of many care settings, including Emergency Departments.”

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