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Home Medway News Article
Some patients are going to Medway A&E more than 50 times a year, figures have revealed.
Between April 2010 and March 2013 there were 53 patients who attended the emergency department in Gillingham more than 50 times in 12 months.
The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show over the same period there were 245 patients who attended more than 10 times a year and eight patients who attended more than 100 times a year
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said the number of repeat patients are proof A&E services are being put under increasingly severe strain.
She added: “The causes of such attendance range from the lack of understanding of what constitutes emergency as opposed to urgent care, to lack of access to GP services during weekends and evenings.”
The latest A&E waiting times show the number of patients waiting more than four hours to be treated at Medway has soared in the New Year.
The previous week almost 16% of patients waited more than four hours.
The government target is for no more than 5% to wait this long.
Ms Murphy said: “The reason why so many people go to A&E who might otherwise go the their GP is that A&E is available 24 hours day, seven days week and everyone will be seen and treated.
"This is not the case with GPs where availability is restricted by opening hours and waiting times for appointments.
“The best way to shift the burden from A&E departments to GPs for non-emergency treatment is by making GPs more available.”
A spokesman for Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are encouraging patients to help by ensuring they choose the right service for their needs.
"The public can play a very significant role in relieving pressure on the Emergency Department (ED) by ensuring that they use services such as pharmacies, their GP practice and minor injuries units for illnesses and injuries which do not need the specialist skills ED.
“The full range of local services available can be found at www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.
"If these alternative care routes are not available however, our ED team will of course tend to every patient who attends the department.”
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