Public urged to choose right healthcare as walk-ins at region’s hospitals rise


A sharp increase in the number of people walking into hospital emergency departments across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire has prompted a plea to those needing care to think about other alternative services.

Following the bank holiday weekend, busy frontline teams at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District Hospital have seen more and more people with minor injuries arrive at hospital.

In most cases, people who are able to walk into an emergency department would be able to access care and support quicker from another, more appropriate service.

The region’s pharmacies, along with urgent treatment centres and minor injury units, can provide on-the-day help, without people needing to book an appointment.

Heather Cooper, Director for Urgent Care and Flow, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “The days that follow a long weekend are always very busy for the NHS, and this week has been no exception.

“Our urgent care services, such as those located in our region’s hospitals, are intended to help people whose conditions are either life-threatening or in need of immediate medical intervention, but at the moment we are seeing more people walk-in who could access care closer to home at local pharmacies and through 111 online..

“As we head towards the weekend, and with the weather expected to be warm and sunny, we’d really appreciate it if people who find themselves in need of help, such as those with sunburn, hay fever or a minor sporting injury, make the most of the many out-of-hospital services available in our region.”

People unsure of which service is right for their particular condition can get instant medical advice, as well as details of where to go for further help, by using NHS 111 online, which can be accessed at

The online tool, which can be reached on any laptop, smartphone or tablet, asks a series of person-specific questions in order to generate a treatment plan designed to individual needs.

Those without digital access can receive similar help from their nearest community pharmacy – as most sites are fitted with private consultation rooms – or by calling the 111 telephone service.

During peak times, such as weekday mornings and weekends, people dialling 111 may need to wait a few minutes for their call to be answered, with those using the service advised to stay on the line, as help will always be given as quickly as possible.

People with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as heavy bleeding, severe chest pain or loss of consciousness, should not put off calling 999 or visiting their nearest emergency department.

For more information on the various health and care services available locally, visit