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Use RD&E hospital Emergency Department wisely


RD&E Emergency Department lead consultant Dr Tony HudsonThe Royal Devon & Exeter hospital has echoed NHS calls for the public to use their health services wisely this winter.


Inappropriate attendances at the RD&E Emergency Department at Wonford hospital create a challenge for the hospital. A high number of patients coming to the RD&E Wonford hospital could have received medical assistance in other ways for non-urgent or life threatening symptoms.


Between November 2009 and January 2010 less than 30% of all patient attendances at the RD&E were admitted to the acute hospital for treatment and almost 17% were referred to the Walk In Centre for health advice and treatment for minor ailments, infections and injuries such as cuts, strains and sprains.


Of the remaining patients who attended, 746 were referred to other health professionals for advice like the duty GP, transferred to other services like community hospitals and 376 chose not to wait to be seen.

RD&E Emergency Department lead consultant Dr Tony Hudson said: “Our team wants to give prompt quality emergency treatment to patients. This can on occasions be compromised by patients attending with conditions that are inappropriate for a hospital emergency department. If someone is in discomfort but it is clear that they have a minor condition that is not life-threatening, for example, a sore throat or toothache, we would respectfully say that this is not a hospital emergency. In some instances people have had symptoms for several days and come into the hospital thinking it is the only place they could get medical attention out of hours, which is not the case.”


Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health at NHS Devon, said it was important that people consider their options. She said: “There are a range of NHS services available for people to choose from when they become ill or have an accident. We want people to think twice before they visit emergency departments or dial 999 because they are for life threatening and emergency conditions only. There are plenty of healthcare options – other than emergency services - and we are asking people to use these if they don’t feel it is an emergency.”


The choice of NHS health services available are as follows:

Full details of NHS services are available in the Yellow Pages or on NHS Devon’s website NHS Choices also provides a full list of common illness, injuries, symptoms and advice
Call 111 when its less than urgent