The country’s top trauma doctor is reminding people the NHS is there for them if they need it over the Easter break.
Easter bank holiday weekend traditionally sees people tackle DIY projects and data shows there were more than 5,000 hospital admissions last year for drill and power tool injuries, an increase of 200, compared to the previous year.
Around 6,000 people were hospitalised after falling from a ladder and around 500 people were injured by a lawnmower, last year.
The NHS is reminding people where to go for help if an accident happens – for non-life threatening injuries people can get help and advice by calling 111 or going online at 111.nhs.uk.
NHS 111 First – by phone or online – has clinicians on hand to offer expert medical advice and can refer people to GPs, Urgent Treatment Centres or can refer them to book an appointment at A&E.
Anyone who needs to should still attend A&E for serious medical help.
Over winter, more than 225,000 people reserved a time slot at A&E via 111, helping to promote social distancing and keep patients and staff safe.
GP surgeries in every part of the country are also offering tens of thousands of evening and weekend appointments, as well as video consultations and thousands of high street pharmacies will be open to help patients with less severe illnesses or injuries.
Professor Chris Moran, NHS National Clinical Director for Trauma, said: “The bank holiday weekend will free up many people to spend time in the garden, to paint a bedroom wall, or add some shelving space to their home-working space and if an accident happens, there are also plenty of places to get help from the NHS.
“NHS 111 and thousands of pharmacies can provide convenient and quick access to care and ensure that everybody who needs help is seen and treated safely in the right place.
“My advice is to pick up the phone or go online before making the decision to travel to A&E, so you can get help on how to get the best care, more quickly.”
NHS 111 has been a vital part the NHS’s response to COVID-19, with the service having answered more than 18.5 million calls, during the pandemic.
Heath chiefs have invested £24 million in creating NHS 111 First, which has been developed in-conjunction with hospital consultants, GPs, nurses, paramedics pharmacists, social workers, mental health specialists and 111 teams across England, using local knowledge and expertise.
NHS hospitals typically seeing around 2.1 million A&E attendances annually, that don’t result in any admission or treatment, reducing this unnecessary use of Emergency Departments will help ease the pressure on the health service.
Katherine Henderson, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “While we hope everyone enjoys their bank holiday, we urge people to be responsible and safe this weekend, whether with DIY or other activities, and we would like people to know how they can access the right care, should they need it, quickly.
“First and foremost if patients are in a serious condition, including but not limited to things like severe loss of blood, chest or abdominal pain, or head injury, then they should immediately seek emergency care by calling 999 or attending an A&E.
“Ultimately people may not know the severity of their condition without further examination and while some patients may be discharged without the need for further treatment, others can be saved by this process.
“If people are in a non-life threatening condition or are unsure about their injuries then they should call NHS 111 where they will receive advice and guidance on where to access the care that is right for them. This may be with their GP, their local pharmacy or home self-care as directed. They may also be booked into their local A&E if their condition is urgent but not quite an emergency.”
Anyone calling NHS 111 will be given a thorough assessment and then referred to where they can get suitable treatment, which could be their local pharmacy, their GP or a timed appointment at an A&E department.
Jo Bullock, head of awareness and education at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “A Bank Holiday weekend can be a good opportunity to tackle some of those jobs around the house and garden which you may have put off. However, to avoid an accident, it is best to take it slow and make a plan for any DIY tasks.”
NHS 111 can also divert a call to the ambulance service if necessary.