England

A&E 'broken fingernail' visit warning

Broken finger nail Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Patients with broken finger nails should not treat it as an emergency, health bosses say

People requesting treatment for broken finger nails and toothache at A&E departments in the north east has prompted a warning about misuse.

Figures from eight health trusts showed 53,024 people visited between 1 and 25 December, but only 29% needed emergency treatment.

Other inappropriate visits during the period included patients with colds or excessive alcohol consumption.

Health bosses warned that seriously ill patients could be put at risk.


Minor ailments seen at A&E over the festive period:

  • Backache
  • Toothache
  • Broken finger nails
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Coughs, colds and sore throats
  • Sickness and diarrhoea

Source: Hospital trusts in the north east


The figures were released by hospitals including Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital, Sunderland Royal Hospital, University Hospital of North Durham, Darlington Memorial Hospital and Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Speaking on behalf of the hospitals, David Evans, chief executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Many of the attendances the region's hospitals are seeing are for common winter illnesses such as bad colds, viruses or stomach bugs, which always circulate in the community at this time of year.

"These are best looked after at home with over the counter medication, plenty of fluids, rest and recuperation - they certainly do not need a trip to A&E."

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