People in Surrey who need urgent NHS care and health advice are being urged to think NHS 111 before they decide to walk into their local Emergency Department (ED) this Bank Holiday weekend.

Emergency Departments – also known as A&E – are particularly busy due to a high number of people attending and staff will prioritise those who need the most urgent care. Therefore, patients may face delays if they attend over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The fastest way to get the right care is to contact NHS 111. When you call 111 – or visit online (www.111.nhs.uk) – clinical staff will be available to provide support on health matters and direct you to the right service to meet your needs. If you need urgent care they will book you in to be seen quickly and safely at an ED, They may signpost you to an alternative service where you can access the right care in the right place.

People can also visit their pharmacist or local walk-in centre which may be able to help. For patients living near Haslemere, the Haslemere Minor Injuries Unit in Church Lane (GU27 2BJ) will be open on Monday 3rd May from 9am-5pm.

Dr Carlo Arrigo, Clinical Director for the Emergency Department at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust, said: “With Emergency Departments currently facing significant pressures from high numbers of attendees, patients can access the right care quickly by calling NHS 111 before they decide to visit a hospital. This service is specifically for people who are not in serious danger but need urgent attention.

“They will be spoken to by a trained professional and a clinician if needed. If it is decided you need to go to the Emergency Department then a time will be booked for you to attend and staff at thehospital will be expecting you.”

Nationally around 70 per cent of people attending emergency departments had just walked in and the majority of those could have been seen through other services such as the urgent treatment centres, GPs or pharmacies.

People with life threatening conditions that need emergency attention should still call 999. Likewise, if the condition is not serious, they should still seek advice from their pharmacy or make an appointment with their GP.

More information on accessing NHS services over the early May Bank Holiday weekend can be found here.