NEW figures have revealed that more than 20,000 patients visited Burton’s Queen’s Hospital accident and emergency department last winter.
Bosses at the Belvedere Road site released the stunning statistic in a bid to make sure that people with minor accidents think about whether they really need to go attend the hospital.
A total of 20,600 people attended the department between November 1, 2012 and February 28, 2013.
Craig Stenhouse, medical director at Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Accident and emergency departments are for life-threatening and emergency conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents.
“We need to make sure that these services are free to help the people who really need them.
“Up to one out of every four people who go to accident and emergency could have either self-treated or used an alternative local service, avoiding what can be a stressful visit to hospital.
“We’re asking people to think carefully about whether accident and emergency is really the best place for their condition.”
A lot of people needing health care consider visiting either their GP, accident and emergency or dialling 999.
However, the NHS offers many more ways for people to get the right treatment.
Minor accidents which do not need emergency treatment include cuts, sprains and strains, bites, minor burns and scalds, wound infections and minor injuries to the back, shoulder and eyes.
Pharmacists can provide advice and over the counter remedies for diarrhoea, minor infections, headaches, coughs and colds, as well as selling bandages and supports for minor twists and sprains.
Anyone who is unsure where to go for help can always ring NHS 111 for advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Choking, persistent, severe chest pain, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies and people with these symptoms should not hesitate in visiting Burton’s Queen’s Hospital accident and emergency department.