Stop and think “Do I need to go to a hospital Accident and Emergency Department or telephone 999 for an ambulance?” A Minor Injury Unit or pharmacist could better meet your needs.
Somerset’s GPs, pharmacists, 111 helpline staff, Minor Injury Unit’s Emergency Nurse Practitioners, district hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) doctors and 999 ambulance paramedics are reminding the public to help themselves and the NHS over next month’s April Bank Holiday weekend and be sure to choose the right health service for their level of illness or injury.
Health and social care services across Somerset and the South West have just experienced one of the busiest winters on record treating patients with threatening injuries and admitting many more frail elderly patients into hospital. And yet too many people still come to a busy district hospital A&E with only minor ailments before stopping to consider the alternatives like telephoning NHS 111, visiting a community hospital Minor Injury Unit or going to a high street pharmacist.
Michael Paynter, a Senior Emergency Nurse Practitioner with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s busy Bridgwater Hospital Minor Injury Unit, said: “For patients with minor injuries and illness, minor injury units are the best places for speedy advice and treatment. They treat patients whose injury or illness is not life threatening, allowing district hospital A&E departments to concentrate on patients with life-threatening and critical conditions. Waiting times are usually shorter and so if you have an injury that is not life threatening and want excellent local care then a minor injury unit is the right place for you.”
Dr Ed Ford, a Minehead GP and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Urgent Care Lead said: “We are appealing to the public to think first this bank holiday and not to rush to a district hospital A&E Department with only minor illness or ailments.
“District hospitals are still experiencing very high levels of demand upon their A&E Departments from admissions of frail elderly patients and the seriously injured. I would therefore appeal to anyone with only a minor illness or ailment to use their NHS responsibly. If people feel they need urgent medical advice then please dial the 24 hour health helpline, NHS111. Its call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to obtaining emergency contraception. However, many minor ailments can be treated by yourself or with advice from a high street pharmacist. So help yourself and the NHS this Easter bank holiday by following this simple advice.”
If you become ill or injured over the April Bank Holiday period (From Friday 3 April to Monday 6 April) here are your options:
SELF CARE: Having a few basic items in your bathroom medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill. Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets. If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP.
There is more advice online at: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Pharmacy/Pages/Yourmedicinecabinet.aspx
VISIT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACISTS:
If you feeling unwell and need advice visit your pharmacy. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at: www.nhs.uk or by telephoning 111.
TELEPHONE NHS 111:
Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly, but it’s not a 999 life threatening emergency. Calls are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service.
You should also call 111 if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent advice or medical help. You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that will help you best.
VISIT YOUR GP:
If you have a persistent health problem that is not going away make an appointment to see your GP. There are 75 GP surgeries across the county providing a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.
Should you become ill after your GP surgery has closed ring your surgery’s telephone number and listen to the answer phone message or telephone 111 for advice.
Remember to re-order any prescriptions you need a week before the Bank Holiday.
YEOVIL HEALTH CENTRE:
Located on the top floor of Boots in Middle Street the centre is open every day of the year and from 8am until 8pm. Yeovil Health Centre also provides emergency contraception and sexual health advice and treatment.
Normal GP and nurse care is available as well as quick and convenient health checks including blood pressure and cholesterol. No appointment is necessary; walk in for prompt attention. Telephone 01935 709 269 http://www.yeovilhealthcentre.nhs.uk/
COMMUNITY HOSPITAL MINOR INJURY UNIT:
There are Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead and Shepton Mallet.
If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than a busy hospital A&E department. By doing so you allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait.
To check your local MIU’s location and opening hours telephone 111 or go to: www.sompar.nhs.uk/our_services/adult_services/minor_injuries_unit
ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY:
Only use hospital A&E or the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a friend or relative is experiencing chest pain, has become unconscious, or is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency, telephone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
For further information on how to protect yourself and your family this Easter please visit www.nhs.uk.