HOSPITAL bosses have urged residents to have a safe jubilee holiday weekend but to think carefully before walking into an A&E department.
Bournemouth and Poole hospitals have plans in place to deal with an exceptionally busy four-day stretch from Thursday.
However those who feel they might need medical attention are being asked to consider using the NHS 111 service or community pharmacists or even see whether they can wait until Monday.
University Hospitals Dorset clinical director for emergency and urgent care, Harry Adlington, said: “I must stress that if people feel they need to be seen urgently then we are here for them. We realise people are worried but there may be alternatives. Walk in centres across the area can be accessed through 111.
“It not their fault that they come to us, it’s the fact the services aren’t there to redirect them.”
He said both sites were anticipating a high demand over the jubilee period, which was normal at weekends and public holidays.
GP surgeries are not open over the holiday weekend and Mr Adlington declined to say directly whether the pressure on emergency departments would be eased if there was greater capacity in the primary care system.
He said: “Every aspect of healthcare needs to identify what its capacity and demand is and match that as best they can with the services they’ve got.
“Obviously a lot of other services are closed down in periods like this, so that obviously puts more pressure on us, because we are always here 24/7.
“People with an issue are not able to get a telephone consultation with their family doctors that they might otherwise be able to do.”
He also asked patients to think about the medication they might need over the long break.
“We really to ask people to think about whether they really need to attend an emergency department. Other help is available to offer advice.”
Around 270 patients attended A&E in Bournemouth on the Sunday just gone and a further 260 at Poole.