Publish date: 1 May 2024

People in need of medical help or advice in Portsmouth and its surrounding areas are being urged to only use Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Emergency Department for life-threatening injuries and conditions - ahead of this week’s Bank Holiday weekend.

Services remain very busy and during previous spring bank holiday weekends (2021 and 2022), we have seen over 350 people attending the Emergency Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital each day, including some people who could be treated more appropriately elsewhere in the community.

Data from previous bank holiday weekends show:

  • Demand is typically above average.
  • The top reasons for patients attending include abdominal pain, shoulder, head, hip, ankle and leg injuries and chest pain.
  • Around two in five patients require admission to a hospital bed.

John Knighton, Chief Medical Officer at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: “The hospital remains very busy, and Bank Holidays are typically even busier. People may not know where to go for medical treatment with GP practices being closed over the weekend and worried about waiting until Tuesday when they reopen, so end up at the Emergency Department. This puts extra pressure on our staff and as we see people with serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries first, other people can be left waiting longer than we would like for them to be seen.

“We are urging our community to consider which service is best for their needs such as an Urgent Treatment Centre, pharmacy or NHS 111 Online for non life-threatening illnesses or conditions. We have three Urgent Treatment Centres in the area which can treat a range of conditions and illnesses including sprains, stings, burns and other injuries. If people aren’t sure where to go, they can call 111 or visit 111 online. Pharmacists are also available to offer advice.

“We’re always open but it’s crucial we keep the hospital’s Emergency Department free for the people who need us to save their lives.”

Urgent Treatment Centres will remain open as usual and provide care on a range of minor illnesses and injuries. Earlier this year Stanley, who hurt his finger on his trampoline, attended the Gosport Urgent Treatment Centre with his mum Chloe. When they arrived Stanley’s finger was x-rayed, reviewed, and strapped – all in just under an hour and a half.

Chloe said “We are so grateful, and Stanley’s finger is almost back to normal. We even had a follow up call from Queen Alexandra Hospital to book in an X-ray review, after it was confirmed that he had fractured his finger.

“It’s such an efficient and effective service. We’re so thankful to everyone who helped us.”

Many pharmacies will also be open over the Bank Holiday weekend. You can find the full list here:

Aside from the support they already offer on a range of minor illnesses, many pharmacies can now provide medication without a prescription for seven common conditions including:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo (a bacterial skin infection)
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

You don’t need an appointment and a trained pharmacist will ask you some questions based on your symptoms to decide what the next course of action should be. This can include issuing a prescription for antibiotics or antivirals or redirecting you to another service.

For more information on the best places to go to seek medical help, visit:


Where is my nearest Urgent Treatment Centre?

Your nearest Urgent Treatment Centres are:

  • St Mary's - 8am to 8pm
  • Gosport - 8am to 10pm
  • Petersfield - 8am to 8pm