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Consider all healthcare options and help decrease pressure on the Hospital Emergency Department, say West Berkshire health chiefs

AE with ambulance

Across West Berkshire the public are being asked to continue to consider all the options available before going to the accident and emergency department. 

With the winter bringing more ill-health amongst all age groups, demand on the health system is increased, with attendance at the accident and emergency department particularly affected.  The A&E at Royal Berkshire has been under sustained pressure since Christmas and patients are being asked to continue to think carefully before attending.


In hospitals’ Emergency Departments (A&E), priority is given to patients with very serious and life-threatening conditions such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. if you fall into these categories, please come to A&E immediately so we can care for you.  


If you, or someone you care for, is feeling unwell, there are a number of ways to get the right care:

  • Self-care is often  the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common winter illness and injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
  • You don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist and some pharmacies now have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.
  • Your doctor’s surgery can advise on most health conditions. Out of hours, the NHS 111 service is an excellent first point of call for medical advice.


For minor injuries or illness you can also attend a Walk In Centre or Minor Injuries Unit: these services are run by a team of highly qualified clinical practitioners with a lot of expertise in the treatment of minor injuries including deep cuts, sprains and strains, broken bones (fractures), bites and stings (including problems): minor eye infections, scratches or something lodged in your eye.


If you are not sure please call NHS 111 for advice or to be directed to the best local service to treat your injury or illness. 


We are lucky in West Berkshire, as many services are available:

  • Reading Walk In Centre: Broad Street Mall, 1st Floor, 103-105 Broad Street Mall, Reading RG1 7QA: open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week including weekends and bank holidays (managed by Virgin Care
  • Bracknell Healthspace Urgent Care Centre  Eastern Gate, Brants Bridge , Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 9TR (managed by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week including weekends and bank holidays
  • West Berkshire Community Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, London Road, Benham Hill, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 3AS: open from 8am to 10pm
  • St Marks Hospital urgent care centre St Marks Road, Maidenhead SL6 6DU (managed by London North West Healthcare NHS Trust) open 8.30am to 5pm (9-1 weekend)
  • Townlands Memorial Hospital Minor Injuries Unit (managed by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust), York Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2EB open from 9am to 8pm
  • Wallingford Community Hospital Walk In Centre, Reading Road Wallingford 0X10 9DU (managed by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) Open Monday to Friday 0830 – 6.30 pm. Closed at weekends
  • Upton Hospital Walk In Centre Slough – open 8am – 8pm 365 days per year


Mary Sherry, Chief Operating Officer at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All Emergency Departments continue to be under sustained heavy pressure.  We are seeing a continued stream of very sick patients and we are working hard to care for them.  Whilst the situation is still manageable, it is important that people consider other NHS services first and only use emergency departments for emergencies.”


Sam Burrows, Director of Strategy at Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups, added: “The whole NHS system here in West Berkshire wants to provide the right level of care, for each person who needs it, in the right place and at the right time.  Besides the GP and A&E, there are many options for people, including pharmacy advice, walk in and urgent care centres, and, of course, NHS111. There are always good alternatives available for patients worried about their health.”

January 2017


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