Accident and Emergency & 999

A&E departments assess and treat patients with serious injuries or illnesses.

Evidence suggests that up to one in five patients attending Broomfield A&E department could be seen by alternative NHS services such as GP, pharmacy and dentists.

Generally, you should only visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped

If an ambulance is needed, call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK.

For full details on your urgent care options in mid Essex, please click here. Help us keep A&E for those who really need it.

A&E Myth Buster

You will get your prescriptions free at A&E

False. If you are not eligible for free prescriptions, you will be charged by the hospital pharmacy if you attend Accident and Emergency during office hours and need medication. At night and weekends, you will not be charged on the spot but the bill will be sent to you for payment.

You will get seen faster at A&E

Emergencies get seen quickly at Accident and Emergency. People who attend with illnesses or injuries that are not life threatening or serious will be seen after more urgent cases have been dealt with. This may be several hours depending on the how many patients with serious or life-threatening conditions are in the department.

Emergencies arrive at any time of the day or night, seven days a week and this WILL affect where you are in the queue. This may mean a very long wait.

If your illness is not serious or life-threatening, it is better to seek advice from NHS 111 or at NHS Choices, from a pharmacist or from a GP.

GPs are available 24 hours a day, via your GP practice or the Out of Hours GP service. If you are sure you need to see a doctor urgently, explain this to the receptionist and they will do their best to fit you in. In the meantime, you will be in the comfort of your own home while you wait.

It is difficult to get an appointment with your GP when you want it, so it is better to go straight to A&E

You should always see your GP wherever possible. GP practices across Essex have made huge efforts to improve access for patients. You can request a call back from your GP if you are unable to obtain a convenient appointment to discuss your problem with you.

Where there is a genuine medical need, GPs are able to prioritise and should be able to see you quickly. Many surgeries keep a number of appointments for people who need to be seen that day – speak to the receptionist about an ‘urgent sit and wait’ appointment or again request a call back from the GP.

Do not be swayed by past experience. If you think, you need to see a GP urgently, phone your practice and let them know.

If you require a GP outside of normal opening hours, please call the GP out-of-hours service NHS 111.

If you go to A&E you get all your tests and treatment sorted in one go

The doctors working in Accident and Emergency have expertise with injuries and emergency medical conditions, but they don’t always have the specialist experience of your own doctor in the management of long term conditions such as diabetes.

If you need an ultrasound to assess a possible miscarriage, scans are never performed on the day and your GP is able to book a scan for you, or able to arrange for you to go straight to a gynaecological department without the long wait in Accident and Emergency.

Even if your own doctor is not available at the time of calling, you may be able to get a second opinion from another doctor within your own practice. Your practice holds all notes detailing your past medical history and will have a more complete picture of your medical needs.

If you need an X-ray, most GPs will be able to tell you whether you need an X-ray based on their experience.

If you call 999 and get taken to hospital by ambulance then you will get seen before other people in A&E

False. You will be assessed and triaged the same way as anyone else. Remember 999 is only for emergencies. The ambulance service will of course arrange an ambulance if your condition is serious, but your condition may be better dealt with by another more appropriate part of the NHS.

 

and the majority of patients at Broomfield ED have presented with minors.