Epsom and St Helier Hospitals urge people to only visit A&E if necessary after surge in patients

This Is Local London: A&E reception at Epsom Hospital earlier this month A&E reception at Epsom Hospital earlier this month

Hospitals are urging people to only visit A&E if they really have to following a surge in patients in the run-up to Christmas.

People are being asked to make the right choice about the service they need in order to help ease the seasonal pressure.

Epsom and St Helier Hospital’s A&E and maternity units will be open as usual over Christmas and New Year, but no outpatients appointments have been scheduled on the bank holidays.

GP practices advertise their opening times during the festive season while NHS 111 and urgent care services will continue as usual.

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins said: "At this time of the year, hospitals across the country become much busier, with more people coming through the doors of A&E departments, either because of accidents in the wet and icy conditions or the annual rise in seasonal illnesses (such as flu).

"Of course, we are absolutely committed to providing our patients with the very best of care come rain or shine, and have spent a number of months planning for the colder season.

"However, we would ask that people only come into A&E if they have to. By doing so, you'll not only be getting the right care in the right place but you'll also allow staff in our hospitals, including our consultants, doctors and nurses to treat people who do have a critical or life-threatening condition more quickly too."

For more information on appointments at Epsom Hospital visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk or call 020 829 2000.

Pharmacy at Epsom Hospital opening hours over the festive period:

  • 23 and 24 December, open as usual (9am - 5.30pm)
  • 25 December, closed 26 December, open 10am - 12noon
  • 27 December, open as usual (9am - 5.30pm)
  • 28 December, open 9am - 12noon
  • 29 December, closed
  • 30 and 31 December, open as usual (9am - 5.30pm)
  • 1 January, open 10am - 12noon
  • 2 and 3 January, open as usual (9am - 5.30pm)

Buckley Pharmacy, The Street, Ashtead

  • Open from noon to 1pm on Christmas Day
  • Closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day  

Lewis Chemist, Kingston Road, Leatherhead

  • Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
  • Open from 12:00 to 13:00 on New Year’s Day

Patsons Chemist, Broadway, Stoneleigh

  • Open from 3pm to 4pm on Christmas Day
  • Closed on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

Ricky’s Chemist, Market Parade, High Street, Ewell

  • Closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
  • Open from 3pm to 4pm on Boxing Day

Ruxley Pharmacy, Ruxley Lane, Ewell

  • Closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day
  • Open from 3pm to 4pm on New Year’s Day

Patsons Chemist, Broadway, Stoneleigh

  • Closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day

Alternatives to visiting A&E:

• If you feel unwell and you're unsure what to do, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk.

• If you're suffering from a very minor illness or injury like a cough sore throat or a grazed knee, visit your local pharmacy for advice and keep your medicine cabinet well stocked so you can look after yourself at home.

• If you have an illness or injury that won't go away, like ear pain, vomiting, or back ache, make an appointment with your GP.

• In life-threatening situations such as chest pain, difficulty in breathing, blacking out, stroke or major blood loss always call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.

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