Ear ache, toothache and ongoing knee pain are just some of the minor ailments people have attended Accident and Emergency for at East Surrey Hospital, instead of their local GP.
Staff at the hospital in Redhill tweeted a ‘Day in the Life’ of the emergency department last month revealing some of the cases they deal with on a daily basis to highlight how people misuse the service causing the hospital’s resources to become overstretched.
Tweets revealed how people had attended the hospital with minor ailments such as earache.
One frustrated employee tweeted on the hospital’s Twitter page: “Ear Ache? Seriously! Why come to the Emergency Department? See pharmacist for advice. If symptoms don’t improve talk to your GP.”
While another tweet read: “Toothache? Our Emergency Dept does not have a dentist, call the Emergency Dental Line.”
One person attended A&E after experiencing knee pain for three years.
In response the hospital tweeted: “Someone with knee pain in Emergency Dept – had it 2 to 3 years! Why couldn’t it wait another day for a GP appointment?”
Figures show the hospital had 74,354 people attend A&E last year. The hospital said of these almost half left needing no further treatment or follow up.
Hospital staff were quick to tweet when patients were using the A&E department correctly.
One tweet read: “Trauma patient in- hit by a car. This is what our Emergency Dept is for. This person is in the right place and in safe hands.”
While another read: “Person with hand injury in Emergency Dept after fall on icy pavement - broken wrists, elbows & hips common injuries in winter.”
A spokeswoman for Surrey and Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust which manages East Surrey Hospital, said: “This Emergency Department is only for seriously ill patients and those with life threatening or very serious injuries. Patients with less serious injuries and illness might find it easier to attend an urgent treatment or minor injury centre, where they will usually be seen more quickly. There is an Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley hospital.”
The Emergency Department at East Surrey Hospital has been officially designated as a ‘Trauma Unit’ after satisfying a panel of trauma experts.