Patients may be waiting for longer than normal when visiting the Emergency Department at the Great Western Hospital this week.

 The hospital is extremely busy with 220 being the average number of people attending the Emergency Department each day.

Working alongside the hospital, we are doing everything we can to reduce the pressure on the system, however less urgent patients may be waiting longer than we would like.

The number of people attending the Emergency Department has increased by almost 20 per cent over the last five years and approximately 100 patients each day who attend our Emergency Department now need to be admitted into hospital.

The hospital staff are doing everything they can to provide safe and high quality care during this challenging time, however there are lots of things local people can also do to support them.

1. Choose the right healthcare option
2. Look out for the elderly and vulnerable
3. Help get patients Home for Lunch

1. Choose the right healthcare option for you

At times the Emergency Department can become very busy, so if you need urgent healthcare, but your condition is not critical, you might be seen sooner at one of the many other healthcare services available throughout Swindon.

SEQOL Urgent Care Centre

The Urgent Care Centre, located on the Great Western Hospital site, is open 24/7 and is the place to go if you need medical assistance and have been unable to get an urgent GP appointment.

Contact 01793 646466.

SEQOL Children's Clinic

The clinic, which runs from Monday to Friday, 8.00am-8.00pm, for youngsters, toddlers and infants suffering from common colds, aches or pains but not life-threatening conditions, that are unable to get an appointment with their own GP.

Contact: 01793 646466 to speak to a specialist nurse who will make an appointment time with you at either Moredon Medical Centre or Swindon Health Centre, Carfax Street.

Swindon Health Centre in Carfax Street, Swindon

Swindon Health Centre in Carfax Street is open daily between 8am and 8pm and can help to treat people suffering from minor injuries and illnesses, such as sprains, strains, ear care, eye care as well as urine and chest infections.


Your local pharmacist is also a great alternative when you want quick help for a minor condition, such as flu, aches, pains, upset stomachs and skin conditions. Most are open late and can even offer you private consultations.

Out of Hours GP Service

Make sure you are registered with a local GP. The out-of-hours GP (01793 646466) can offer advice over the phone, as well as arranging home visits.

NHS 111

NHS 111 is available for medical advice over the phone

The Emergency Department

The Emergency Department is for very serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses where immediate medical attention is needed, such as breathing difficulties or chest pain, sudden severe pain or heavy loss of blood, for example.

In a medical emergency call 999 immediately and ask for the ambulance service.

2. Look out for the elderly and vulnerable

Please look out for elderly friends, relatives and neighbours and encourage them to seek help early on.

If they start to feel unwell - even if it's just a cough or cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.

You can also: 

  • Make sure they've had their flu jab
  • Help them to keep them warm
  • Make sure they have all their prescription medicines before pharmacies close of the Easter break. 
  • For more tips please see Stay Well This Winter

3. Help get patients Home for Lunch

At any one time up to around 30 of the patients in the Great Western Hospital's 450 beds which are in use on average, are well enough to leave.

Discharges can be delayed for a number of complex reasons, often in relation to on-going care needs, however we can all help to ensure patients can leave in a timely and well-planned way, helping to free up beds so staff can start treating more seriously ill patients.

  • Be involved in discussions around the patient's recovery and on-going care needs, so that arrangements can be made early on
  • Make arrangements to be available at the time of discharge
  • Make the home comfortable for the patients return
  • Arrange help around the home
  • Arrange transport and clothes to leave hospital in
  • Put the heating on if needed
  • Stock the patient's home with basic food and any medicine they might need.
  • Visit GWH's Leaving Hospital page for useful information.