A&E – Do you really need to go there?

A survey of people using the A&E department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital revealed up to 70 per cent could have received equivalent or more appropriate help from other NHS services.

On Monday 4th April 2005, the Emergency Stream of Better Care for Norfolk will commence the distribution of posters asking the public ‘if they really need to go to A&E’ and listing the alternative NHS services available.

These graphic posters will be appearing all over the county. A huge amount of support in providing sites for the posters has been promised by many local groups and organisations.

They will be displayed in more than one hundred local public houses. Local hotels, including Dunston Hall, Sprowston Manor and Barnham Broom will also be helping the campaign.

The Norfolk Football Association and Eastern Counties Rugby Union will be distributing posters to their member clubs. Norwich City Council and the University of East Anglia have also promised their support.

The first person to support this important campaign was the Chairman of Norwich and Norfolk Licensed Victuallers Association and landlord of the Unthank Arms, Nick De’ath.

Mr De’ath said, “None of us know when we might be rushed to hospital as an emergency. If this happened, to think that the A&E might be clogged up with people who could have got help somewhere else is a bit worrying.

“I know that my members will be very happy to support this campaign by displaying the posters and I would encourage all other local businesses to help by ensuring they also display them.”

Phyllis Shelton, Director of Performance, Improvement and Organisational Development for the Central Norfolk PCTs, said, “We are not trying to put A&E out-of-bounds, it is a very important service that is available 24 hours a day for the public, but it is, as the name clearly states, for Accidents and Emergencies.

Our posters are asking the public to pause for thought and ask themselves if they really need to go there or is there perhaps a different NHS service they could use. And to help, we have listed the alternatives on the posters.

“I would like to thank all the local businesses and organisations who are providing sites for our posters and I would ask other people who could help in a similar way to contact us,” she concluded. 


The A&E department of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is the busiest in the region (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire) and treated 68,675 patients during 2004.

Alternative NHS services:

  • For minor injuries and illnesses, visit the Norwich NHS Walk-In Centre, Dussindale, Thorpe St. Andrew, Norwich, telephone 01603 300122.  The team of experienced nurses will assess, advise and treat people without an appointment. The Centre is open on weekdays and Saturdays from 7 am to 10 pm, and Sundays and bank holidays from 9 am to 10 pm. 
  • When your GP’s surgery is closed, Anglian Medical care provides family medical care overnight, at weekends and on bank holidays.  Either call your doctors number and listen to the answer’phone message or call the service direct on 01603 488488.  A doctor will assess your problem and will either give advice over the phone, arrange a home visit from a GP or other qualified professional, or ask you to visit your nearest centre for treatment.  
  • For free, confidential advice from experienced nurses call NHS Direct 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0845 46 47 or visit NHS Direct Online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk the website includes a self help guide, a health encyclopaedia and links to other useful sources of health information. 
  •  When your GP’s surgery is closed and one of the other services is not appropriate, pharmacies can also often give health advice especially concerning medicines.  

Monday 4th of April 2005 04:00:35 PM