Please Avoid Unnecessary Use of A&E - Can our surgery help you?


Following recent changes to NHS funding arrangements, each attendance at A&E is now individually charged to the Primary Care Trust and ultimately to the patients’ practice. Each attendance at A&E is charged at a standard tariff rate (between £55 and £101), for more complex cases the higher charge is levied and costs of admission or outpatient follow-up are added to these costs.


When Should A&E be Used?


Examples of when it is right and appropriate to attend A&E without delay are:

  • Major injuries such as injuries from road traffic accidents.
  • Falls from a considerable height.
  • Major head injuries.
  • Collapse.
  • Severe breathing difficulty.
  • Severe chest pain.
  • Severe haemorrhage.
  • Poisoning.
  • Extensive burns.

When it is Inappropriate to Use A&E Services?


Unfortunately, many people attend A&E with very minor problems. This makes it difficult for A&E staff to deal with the volume of cases, involves delays for patients and incurs some considerable costs. The following are examples of minor problems for which A&E attendance in not appropriate. Generally, if the person is unwell, but alert and speaking without impaired consciousness or severe breathing difficulty, then they do not need to attend:

  • Flu-like illnesses, coughs, earache, back ache.
  • Sore throats.
  • Minor breathlessness or wheezing.
  • Abdominal pain (unless extreme or associated with collapse).
  • Urinary difficulties (unless completely unable to pass water).
  • Vaginal bleeding (unless very heavy and associated with faintness).
  • Rashes (unless it appears like spontaneous bleeding under the skin or the person appears very unwell).
  • Backache.
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Simple bites and stings.
  • Social problems.
  • Emergency contraception.
  • Dental problems (except major trauma).



Alternatives to A&E


Self care With a well stocked medicine cabinet and some first aid supplies you can tackle many of the common winter illnesses such as coughs and colds or minor cuts and bruises yourself.


Pharmacies - Your local pharmacist can offer you free, qualified health advice at any time, and no appointment is necessary.  From coughs and colds to aches and pains and other minor ailments they can give you expert help and answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines.


GP surgery – We, your GP surgery, can offer you advice on long term illnesses that have flared up, old injuries or joint pains that have worsened, minor medical complaints such as skin conditions, and general feelings of unwellness that are worrying you and could need further investigation. We are open 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays) and offer same day access to a GP for help and advice (contact us before 12am on 01202 886999 to arrange this). We also have appointments that can be booked ahead and a duty doctor is always available during our opening hours to deal with very urgent clinical problems.  For more information about our services visit our website:


Out of hours GP service - (for when the GP surgery is closed) This service is for urgent medical situations, if you, or a member of your family become ill and you are concerned. Please note that this service is only for patients whose condition cannot safely wait until the next working day and who need advice or treatment from a doctor or nurse.  It is not for routine enquiries, for example, booking an appointment with your GP, repeat prescriptions, or collecting any test results.

If you become unwell and need medical help after your GP surgery has closed you can call the Dorset Emergency Care Service by dialling 111 (one, one, one). If you believe you, or a member of your family, is experiencing a life-threatening condition if you don’t get medical help immediately, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

When you ring the Dorset Emergency Care Service, your call will go to the call centre in St Leonard’s. A trained member of staff will answer the phone and take your details. They will contact a doctor who will ring you back to ask you more about the problem and, together, will decide the best option for you.


Internet advice – Can help to signpost you to local services appropriate to you. Try

Victoria Hospital, Wimborne Minor Injuries Unit – A nurse led service assessing and treatment of minor injuries and illness for adults & children.  They offer advice & treatment of lacerations, burns & wounds, musculoskeletal injuries including sprains & strains,to legs and arms and fractures, head injuries, eye injuries, foreign bodies, assessments following a fall in the elderly. They can offer treatment & advice for minor illnesses such as coughs & colds, asthma, bites & stings, rashes & allergic reactions, earache & sore throats and emergency contraception. Following injury/illness they can arrange follow up care with GP, out of hours GP, clinics & refer directly to A&E or the on-call hospital specialities.  Opening hours are  8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Sunday.

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website