Staff at Epsom, Sutton and St Helier Hospitals are supporting a national campaign to help people find the right NHS service they need as quickly as possible.
Voicing his support for the NHS' Choose Well campaign, Dr Martin Stockwell, joint medical director, said: "More than 143,300 patients came to our A&E departments and urgent care centre last year - that’s more than 390 patients per day, or one person every four minutes.
"Most people using A&E genuinely need its services and are suffering a life threatening or real emergency. However, there are also people who come because they feel mildly unwell, have a cough, cold, a minor cut or other everyday ailments.
"They could be getting the right care faster somewhere more appropriate, for instance from their GP, a pharmacist, or even by treating themselves.
"As well as your GP and local pharmacy, there are a number of NHS services locally, including GP-led health centres, walk-in centres and minor injuries units.
"Using the full range of services available will mean patients get seen as quickly as possible. It also means that staff in our A&Es can treat people who do have a critical or life-threatening condition more quickly too."
Alternatives to visiting A&E:
If you feel unwell, unsure or confused, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 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
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
If you have a minor illness or injury like a cut, a sprain or a rash visit your local NHS walk-in centre, NHS urgent care centre, or NHS minor injuries unit, without making an appointment
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
For more information visit www.choosewell.org.uk
Article from Hardeep Matharu at epsomguardian