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19 December 2013

Think ABC before A&E says NHS

This winter, the NHS has launched a campaign to help people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire choose the right health service when they are feeling unwell or are injured - allowing busy services like A&E to treat people who need them most.

Across the country, approximately 47 per cent of people attending an A&E department could have received the same service via their GP, by telephoning NHS 111 or by calling in at an NHS walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre * .

Local people are being asked toThink ABC before A&E:

  • Anytime free medical advice from NHS 111
  • Book an appointment with your GP surgery
  • Call in at your local minor injuries unit or Walk-in Centre

The campaign has been co-ordinated on behalf of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCGs).

Dr Jonathan Hayes, the GP Chair of South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  "It's really important that people know exactly where to go for the right treatment. A&E departments are extremely busy, and people coming to them with a minor injury and illness may have to face longer waits, particularly if there are major or complex injuries brought into the department by ambulance.

"So before considering A&E we would ask that local people really think about the best place to go for treatment or advice - that could be their GP, calling 111 for advice, talking to a pharmacist or visiting a Walk-in Centre or minor injuries unit where waiting times to be seen can be considerably less than A&E. Of course, in a serious life-threatening emergency do not wait, call 999 for immediate assistance."

Lesley Walford, an Emergency Nurse Practitioner based at the Yate Minor Injuries Unit, said: "On average we can see and treat most people in under an hour - sometimes within minutes. We are a specific department for minor injuries - these are all we do so we don't have complex, major cases that take a lot of time to deal with."

To find out your best options for treatment either call 111 or your GP, or visit

The Urgent Care Centre based at South Bristol Community Hospital is led by Sarah Brierley, Service Lead. "Since the hospital opened in 2012 we have seen more than 58,000 patients at the Urgent Care Centre. Patients can come to us for a wide range of conditions such as sprains and strains, cuts and grazes and minor burns and scalds. We are also able to offer x-rays to assess suspected broken bones, saving people a long wait in A&E." The centre is run by Bristol Community Health, the Bristol-based social enterprise.

The campaign will run from Christmas 2013 to Easter 2014. 

To find out more log onto for full information on all services.