Accident and Emergency Department Troubles

Trouble at Accident and Emergency Department

accident and Emergency department

As you will have heard on the news recently, your local accident and emergency department is struggling because it cannot cope with the ever increasing demand for its services. In a survey of people visiting accident & emergency departments, over half admitted that the problem they went to A&E for could have been dealt with by their local pharmacist.

Consequently those that are seriously ill often have to wait longer than they should to be assessed. So what can you as a responsible citizen do to help? Well the best thing is to follow the NHS suggestion that you use us, your local pharmacy, as your first port of call.

This means when you or a family member is feeling unwell you come and talk to us about your problem first. Our pharmacists have undergone a 5 year graduate training course to ensure they understand minor ailments and how to treat them, as well as how drugs work.

Minor Ailments

Also 20% of all visits to GPs are for minor ailments. Minor ailments are things like coughs, colds, allergies, stomach upsets, and cuts and bruises thet will get better over a few days by themselves, though there are counter medicines that can help to relieve your symptoms.

All our team will be able to advise you on the best way to overcome your symptoms or direct you to our pharmacist if it is something more serious. They will send you on to your GP if they think your problem needs further investigation.

Saving Money

accident and emergency department costsNot only will this help to reduce the pressure in your local accident and emergency department, it will also save the NHS a lot of money. The cost of visiting the different branches of primary care rapidly increases the more specialist the service is.

  • A visit to your pharmacist costs the NHS £17
  • A visit to your GP costs £25
  • A trip to the local walk-in centre is £63
  • Going to the accident and emergency department costs between £59 and £129

When Should You Visit The Accident And Emergency Department?

accident and emergency department choose wellObviously if your condition is serious – such as if you have badly cut yourself, somebody has gone unconscious, you suspect a relative has a broken bone – then a visit to the accident and emergency department is needed, However, there are a number of conditions that regularly appear at the accident and emergency department that are not serious.

The top 5 minor conditions are:

  • sprained muscle
  • stomach ache
  • stubbed toe
  • Minor burns
  • high temperature

though patients also go with cystitis, being drunk and insect bites.

Follow the Choose Well guide for more information on when to visit your local accident and emergency department.

Moral Of The Tale

So the moral of the tale is to only visit your accident and emergency department when you really have an emergency. By visiting your local pharmacy you can be confident you will be seen quickly, receive good advice and be directed on if your condition is more serious

Not only will you be saving yourself a lot of time – waiting times in the accident and emergency department can be more than 4 hours as patients are seen on the basis of clinical need, so those with minor ailments will be at the back of the queue – you will also save the NHS a lot of money while making sure those people who are seriously ill get seen more quickly.

If you become unwell or are injured make sure you choose the right NHS service to make sure you get the best treatment


  1. What is a first port of call?
  2. What is a minor ailment problem?
  3. How much does the average visit to the accident and emergency department cost the NHS?
  4. How much does the average GP consultation cost the NHS?
  5. How much does the average walk-in centre visit cost the NHS?
  6. Name 2 reasons why it makes more sense for you to visit your local pharmacy first
  7. What percentage of visits to the accident and emergency department could have been dealt with by a pharmacist?
  8. What percentage of GP visits are self limiting illnesses?
  9. Name two of the top 5 minor conditions that patients visit the accident and emergency department for
  10. What other illnesses do people go to the accident and emergency department for?

[expand title=”Quiz Answers”]

  1. Where you should go first when you have a minor health problem
  2. A minor ailment that will heal itself within a few days
  3. £59 to £129
  4. £25
  5. £63
  6. Because they are convenient, trained healthcare professionals who can provide products for pain relief and minor ailments, or direct you to your GP if the problem is more serious
  7. Half of those questioned admitted going to the accident and emergency department for minor ailments
  8. 20%
  9. Sprained muscle, stomach ache, stubbed toe, minor burn, high temperature
  10. Cystitus, being drunk, insect bites


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