The NHS is appealing for support from the local community to reduce the pressures on hospital services through responsible use of A&E. The Accident and Emergency Department and 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation.
You should only attend A&E for anything classed as an emergency including choking, chest pain, loss of consciousness, severe blood loss, broken bones, difficulty breathing, deep wounds or a suspected stroke.
Richard Beeken, Chief Operating Officer, said: "The NHS is extremely busy and we have started to see the beginning of the winter pressures. It is anticipated that these pressures will continue as we enter the winter.
"The public really can make a difference and I encourage you to really think about whether you need to come to A&E or whether your condition could be treated better elsewhere. Although many walk-in patients do need emergency care, only 30% of the 600 people attending A&E on a typical day needed to be admitted to a hospital bed. This means that there are many people who could have chosen an alternative to A&E.
"Our Emergency Centre staff are here to treat accidents and emergencies so my team are asking everyone to please use services wisely and allow us to focus on the people that really do need our care. I would like to thank the staff across the NHS for their continued hard work and professionalism despite the pressures."
There are various alternatives NHS services to A&E available in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area, which may be able to treat your condition more appropriately:
PHARMACY: Your pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment.
NHS 111: This service has been introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services in England. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free.
YOUR GP: For medical advice or for illnesses you can't shake off. You should be able to get an appointment with your surgery within 24 hours, Monday to Friday. If your doctors are closed call your doctor's surgery and you will be transferred to the GP out of Hours Service
WALK-IN CENTRES: Walk-in centres can be used to treat minor injuries and ailments. The nearest walk-in centres are:
High Lane, Burslem, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 7AG
Open: 7am-10pm Monday to Friday
9am-10pm at weekends
Leek Moorlands Hospital
Ashbourne Road, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 5BQ
Open every day from 8am to 8pm
Cannock Minor Injuries Unit
Brunswick Road, Cannock, WS11 5XY
Open every day from 10.30am to 6.30pm
The public can find out more on how to keep well and where to get expert advice at www.nhs.uk/staywell those people attending A&E who do not require immediate, emergency treatment may have a considerable wait.