NHS Ayrshire & Arran is launching a new campaign encouraging people to think before attending an Emergency Department (ED).

The trust’s ambition is to provide the best care possible for the people who really need to attend the Emergency Department—that is patients with life threatening conditions and those with injuries.

Ayrshire & Arran’s Emergency Departments have the highest attendance rate in Scotland. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the area has a sicker population, but it may mean that people don’t always know where to go when they feel they need to access healthcare. The Emergency Department may not always be the best place to treat certain conditions, and attempting to access care in the wrong place can result in
prolonged waiting times for those who really need the expert services that the Emergency Department provides.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, Associate Medical Director, explains: “Increased attendances and long waiting times lead to added pressure on staff and the wider hospital system, but most importantly can delay care for the people who really need it.

“Our new campaign is part of the larger ‘4Rs’ programme which aims to make sure that the ‘Right patient is seen at the Right place at the Right time with the Right clinician.’ Our key message is to let people know when is the most appropriate time to visit an ED, and what are the available alternatives.”

Emergency Departments provide care and treatment for people with life-threatening emergencies, and injuries. They do not:

  • treat conditions usually seen and better managed by a GP
  • treat conditions previously seen by a GP
  • provide second opinions
  • speed up other tests and investigations
  • treat worsening symptoms after a procedure
  • deal with chronic conditions

If you do attend a NHS Emergency Department and your condition does not need their services, you may be redirected to a more appropriate service. These include NHS24, pharmacy, emergency dental service, pregnancy services and sexual health services. Redirecting patients to more appropriate services will help the trust’s emergency departments run more efficiently and patients will be seen quicker.

To support the campaign the Trust has developed a poster explaining what an ED does and doesn’t do. This will be displayed within the departments and will also be distributed throughout the community in the coming weeks. The poster will be supported by ‘When you’re ill, know who to turn to’ leaflets and cards and social media messages.

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Multimedia journalist specialising in both print and digital media content for Scottish charities, professional associations, voluntary sector organisations, and SMEs. Iain also provides search engine optimisation and content refresh services for website owners in any industry.