NHS Lothian is gearing up for another busy August as thousands of tourists get set to descend on the city for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Festival Practice, based at the Western General Hospital, is a dedicated service set up to deal with the influx of tourists who are not registered with a GP in the city.
Almost 10,000 people visited A&E at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh during last years Edinburgh Festival – an increase of around 1000 patients per month.
Dr Sian Tucker, acting clinical director, Lothian Unscheduled Care Service, said: “Visitors should contact NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 if they feel unwell and they will be given an appointment if necessary – it’s important to stress that the Festival Practice is not a walk-in service.
“The practice treats a range of non-emergency conditions and will help to relieve some of the pressure on our A&E departments which are normally busier at this time of year.”
As well as the Festival Practice, NHS Lothian is also encouraging more people to visit the Minor Injuries Clinic, before going straight to the Emergency Department.
The facility, which is also based at the Western General Hospital, offers assessment and treatment as required and patients with less serious injuries can often be seen quicker, without an appointment.
Dr Dave Caesar, clinical director for emergency medicine, NHS Lothian, said: “We see a big increase in the number of people attending A&E in August and a vast majority of them are not based locally and don’t know where else to go.
“There are a number of other options available for people requiring non-emergency medical treatment – if you have a sprain, cut or burn then you should look to attend the Minor Injuries Clinic which is open seven days at week from 8.00am to 9.00pm.”