With temperatures falling below zero, Shropshire’s two acute hospitals are beginning to see a rise in A&E attendances, and are asking people to think about where they will get the best medical attention for their condition.

Year-on-year hospitals across the country are seeing an increase in the number of people attending Emergency Departments and the number of people who are being admitted into hospital.

Winter traditionally brings additional demand caused by cold weather-related problems such as respiratory problems and the effects of cold and flu.

This is combined with increasing difficulty in transferring patients who no longer need the specialist care that acute hospitals provide back home or into more appropriate care settings in the community because of a lack of beds or delays in preparing their required packages of care.

Debbie Kadum, Chief Operating Officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “In our hospitals, we are already beginning to see the effects of the colder weather – and with more freezing temperatures forecast, we are asking people to think carefully about where they will get the best treatment if they need medical attention.”

“We know that many people who have been to our A&E departments could have used an alternative local service, which would have avoided what can be a stressful visit to hospital. People really can be seen much more quickly if they take advantage of alternative services.”

“A&E should only be used for the most serious conditions.”

“Pharmacies are often seen simply as dispensaries for medication, but pharmacists are experts in medicines and will use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge to offer advice on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains and can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.”

“NHS 111 can provide medical help fast when it’s not a 999 emergency.”

“As well as this, minor injuries units in Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Ludlow, Oswestry, Welshpool and Newtown may treat you quicker than A&E for minor injuries.”