SCOTS HAVE been told should only go to A&E wards this winter if they “fall into the emergency category” amid concerns hospitals face another breakneck festive period.
Health secretary Shona Robison says patients should first contact NHS 24 and GP out of hours services - unless they have suffered and accident and need immediate attention.
The Scottish Government today launched its NHS winter readiness campaign, amid concerns that patients are likely to face longer waits in Accident and Emergency (A&E) wards, as many GP practices close.
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The Scottish Government has pumped £18.2 million into dealing with additional pressure on the health service over the Christmas period.
Ms Robison said today: “The funding will also be used to inform people about when they should turn to A&E – it is vital that people only go to A&E if they have had an accident or their condition falls into the emergency category.
“For anything else, NHS 24 and GP out of hours services are available throughout the festive period – and indeed the whole of the winter.”
Ms Robison met with A&E and health and social care partnership staff at University Hospital Crosshouse in Ayrshire today.
She added: “Sometimes hospital is absolutely the best place to be for patients and the only place where they can receive suitable care. But we know that often people are admitted to or stay in hospital when they could be better cared for in the community or at home.”
A leading medical college has warned patients are likely to face longer waits for treatment in overcrowded hospitals this winter.
Dr Martin McKechnie, chair of College of Emergency Medicine Scotland told the Herald: “We have genuine concerns about the lack of alternative healthcare available to the population over these four-day periods.
“The reason for that is people will, as usual, vote with their feet and turn up at A&E as the only available healthcare to them.”
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