Appeal for patients to use alternatives for health care

Front of Frimley Park Hospital

The NHS has made an appeal to the public to consider other health services before attending the Frimley Park Hospital and Wexham Park Hospital Accident and Emergency Departments. 

The appeal was made after both hospitals saw unprecedented numbers of patients arriving. Many of these patients could have received the care or treatment they needed without coming to the Emergency Department.

Dr Huw Thomas, Clinical Chair of NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“There are many ways to access good healthcare across our community. These should be everyone’s first port of call for the best care unless they have serious and life-threatening injuries. I thank you for supporting our frontline staff by accessing these alternatives. This also ensures that our Emergency Departments are able to provide the best care for those who really need them.”

The impact of the unexpected increase in patients is causing challenges for  staff who are currently implementing a new electronic patient record (EPR) system.

Dr Tim Ho, Medical Director at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said:

"The EPR system is a really exciting development for Frimley Health that will mean safer, better and much smoother care for our patients. The new electronic patient record is replacing some 260 separate data systems and paper records. It is the best-in-class system and was chosen by our clinicians, who have also helped to develop it over the last three years.

“We anticipated that to make sure we still provide patients with safe, high quality care, our teams may be a little slower than usual. This is whilst they get used to the new system. So, we deliberately chose to introduce it in the summer, as this is when we historically see fewer patients in our emergency departments.

“This unprecedented demand is putting extra pressure on our service and clinical teams. This is inevitably impacting on the time patients have to wait to be treated.

“Our teams are doing everything they can to deliver the highest standards of care and patient safety remains our first priority. We will do all we can to minimise any impact to patients. We do ask for a little understanding and for patients to use alternative services if that is appropriate.”

Help us help you access the right service for your healthcare needs. Unless it’s an emergency remember there’s lots of alternatives for you to make use of.

These include:

  • visiting your local pharmacy
  • during the day, contacting your GP practice by an online consultation or phone
  • contacting NHS 111 online or dialling 111 - if you are calling NHS 111, please be patient (they may advise you to contact your GP or its out-of-hours service or attend the Bracknell Minor Injuries Unit)
  • visiting the Minor Injury Unit at Brants Bridge in Bracknell – open 8am to 8pm 7 days a week (x-ray facilities are available Sunday to Friday)

Anyone with a life-threatening condition should still call 999.

Dr Thomas said:

“Knowing where to go for medical advice or treatment, and keeping basic first aid medicines, is very important. It means that, if we become unwell or we injure ourselves, we’re not wasting time and energy trying to find out what we should do.

“We would always encourage people to have an understanding of the different options regarding their health. Many health services are coping with unprecedented demand as they work to recover from the pandemic. So, having this knowledge has become even more important.”

For more information, read Know where to go when feeling unwell on the Frimley Health and Care website.