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What's the Emergency?


A typically busy day in A&E, but how many of these patients should NOT be there?  

  1. LISA (33) woke up today with swelling to her face. It’s not gone down, and as her dentist is now closed, she’s come to the emergency department for advice. There are a number of seriously ill patients in the department and she has to wait until they’ve been seen.
    Lisa should have called her dentist where she would have received a recorded message advising her to call NHS 24 on 111. NHS 24 would have quickly assessed her, and if necessary, would have arranged
    for her to attend the Emergency Dental Treatment Centre in Glasgow. (Back to picture)

  2. 58-YEAR-OLD Margaret has a high temperature and a cough. By 8pm she decides that she can’t tolerate this through the night and needs to get help.  Margaret decides to come to the emergency department for assistance.
    Having confirmed that her situation was not life-threatening Margaret has to wait for more urgent cases to be dealt with. If Margaret had instead made a quick call to NHS24, she would have been referred to the GP out-of-hours service and asked to go to her local primary care emergency centre. There she would be seen quickly by an out-of-hours GP who would have diagnosed her chest infection and prescribed her antibiotics. (Back to picture)
  3. TOM, aged 8, has had a runny nose and cough for two days. His mother is worried that his cough hasn’t cleared and has brought him to A&E.
    Instead, she should treat his cold by keeping him warm and rested and giving him plenty of fluids to drink. Paracetamol will reduce his high temperature.
    Most people recover from viral infections like colds within four to seven days. (Back to picture)

  4. JIM, aged 55, has come to the emergency department after his wife encouraged him to get a three-week old back injury checked out and X-rayed.
    As Jim has not just been injured, he should have gone to his GP where he could have been assessed and given advice and a prescription. His GP would also arrange for him to see a back specialist if necessary. (Back to picture)

  5. BOB, 27 from Springburn, has just woken up after his work’s Christmas night out. His ankle is swollen and really hurts but he can walk on it. Bob decides to go to the A&E at Glasgow Royal Infirmary to have his ankle looked at and get strong painkillers.
    Bob should have gone to his local Minor Injuries Service (MIU) where experienced nurse practitioners are available to treat minor injuries such as sprains and cuts. Instead of having to wait for more seriously ill patients to be seen, Bob would have been seen quickly at the MIU and sent home with advice and painkillers, reassured that his ankle was not broken.  Use our postcode finder to see which is the right one for you. (Back to picture)

  6. 27-YEAR-OLD Anna has recently immigrated to Scotland and has found out that she is pregnant. She has come to the emergency department for antenatal advice and to arrange a scan as she is not aware of how the NHS works.
    Anna could have gone to the NHS Inform website where she would have found out how to register with a local GP and a list of GPs in her area. She should then have made an appointment with her GP for her antenatal care. (Back to picture)

  7. MARY, 24, has a long-standing mental health problem. With Christmas looming, she’s finding it all too much to cope with and is in crisis. Mary’s neighbour has brought her to the emergency department as he’s concerned that she may be suicidal and wants someone to see her urgently.

    Glasgow and Clyde’s Mental Health crisis teams* work seven days a week, 365 days a year to support people in crisis and help resolve their problems. A visit to Mary’s GP or a call to NHS 24 would have resulted in an urgent referral and immediate response from the team.
    *In Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, this service is provided by the Intensive Home Treatment Service. (Back to picture)

  8. 53-YEAR-OLD Iain is an alcoholic. He decides to stop drinking whilst drunk and comes to the emergency department demanding help to stop.
    Instead, Iain should have contacted his own GP when sober who would refer him to an addictions worker. The addictions team would identify and put in place the support Iain needs to stop drinking. (Back to picture)

  9. JOHN, aged 23, has a number of verrucas on his foot and he’s limping with pain. He has turned up at his emergency department because he is due to play football tomorrow night and he wants the problem cleared up before then.
    Verrucas are one of a number of minor ailments that your local pharmacy can treat. Instead of a long wait in an emergency department, John should have made a quick trip to his pharmacist for advice and medicine to clear the infection up. (Back to picture)

If you do need to attend A&E or a Minor Injuries Service then please use our postcode finder to see which is the right one for you.