Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is advising people to choose well over the festive season in a bid to keep Accident and Emergency for those patients who really need it.
During the winter months the Trust’s emergency department experiences an increased demand for its services making it even more vital that patients think carefully about the most appropriate place for their care.
Patients and visitors are also reminded not to attend the hospital if they are suffering from the common stomach bug norovirus, which causes vomiting and/or diarrhoea, until they have been symptom free for 48 hours.
Norovirus normally gets better by itself and we would advise people to stay at home and to telephone NHS111 for advice, if necessary.
If you do need to visit Royal Surrey over the festive period, the Trust is once again offering free car parking on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Louise Stead, Director of Nursing and Patient Experience said: “We all like to enjoy ourselves with family and friends over Christmas and New Year and by choosing wisely you may be able to avoid spending time with us.
“If you are unsure about where you should go or you require medical help, but it is not an emergency, phone NHS111.
“They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and a highly trained advisor will direct you to the most appropriate service for you.
“If you come to the Emergency Department with a minor injury or illness you may face a long wait, as we will always priorities those patients who urgently need our help.
“If you feel unable to manage at home or a long standing condition flares up, don’t forget that GP services are available outside of normal surgery hours, for urgent appointments.
“You will usually be directed to an out of hours service or advised to call NHS111, who will be able to assist you.
“For vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, painful cough, sore throat, hangover, skin rashes or headache, try your pharmacist first.
“There will be some pharmacists open on the Bank Holidays, but you are advised to call and check.
“In a real emergency you should always attend A&E.”