Doctors remind Halton residents A&E is only for serious and life-threatening conditions

Runcorn and Widnes World: Dr Cliff Richards, chairman of Halton CCG Dr Cliff Richards, chairman of Halton CCG

As Easter approaches, health chiefs are urging Halton patients to consider how they use 999 and A&E over the four-day weekend.

As people dabble in DIY or light barbecues to celebrate with friends and family, residents are asked to think before dialling 999 or visiting accident and emergency departments over the bank holiday.

Doctors stress that A&E and 999 services are only for serious and life-threatening conditions such as heart-attacks, strokes, serious accidents and breathing conditions.

Dr Cliff Richards, chairman of Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With the increasing pressure on emergency services over the busy Easter period, we are stressing the importance of people using alternative health services and taking care of themselves to ensure A & E and the 999 number are kept free for genuine medical emergencies.

“When people are taking up the time of hospital and ambulance staff with minor issues which could be dealt with much closer to home, people with life threatening illnesses are not being seen to as quickly as they could be.

“It is vital to remember that the ambulance service and A & E should not be used as an alternative to your GP if your surgery is closed.

“If you require medical assistance outside of normal surgery hours this bank holiday, patients in Halton have access to a wide range of alternative health services available including GP out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and pharmacists who are qualified to offer advice and treat common, everyday illnesses.”

These include GP out-of-hours services, walk-in centres and pharmacists who are qualified to offer advice and treat common, everyday illnesses.

Halton CCG is run by representatives from the borough’s 17 GP practices and plans and commissions health services for 126,400 patients.

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