The public can help the NHS and themselves this winter by getting the right treatment for their level of illness and not using the hospital A&E and urgent care services for minor ailments or illness.
The call comes at a time when Somerset’s GPs, hospital, community and ambulance services are straining under the demand from genuinely ill patients, particularly the elderly frail and the long-term sick.
Last night’s (18-12-14) BBC One Show
gave viewers a behind–the-scenes look at the demand currently being placed upon staff at the A&E Department at Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital. With some patients exceeding the four hour A&E wait and staff doing their utmost to discharge patients in order to permit the more seriously ill to be admitted to the hospital, there could be no doubt how pressured local NHS services are at this time.
Such is the demand this year upon district hospital beds, that some patients and their families may be advised that they need to be discharged to a community hospital or care home which is not the closest to their own home. This will be only be done to free up hospital beds to allow seriously ill patients to be admitted. It might also be necessary to ask people who are medically fit to transfer to a care home for a short period whilst waiting for a care package at home.
Dr Ed Ford, a Minehead GP and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Urgent CareLead said: “We are appealing to the public to use NHS emergency and urgent careservices responsibly and understand why it is important people work with their local NHS.
“Hospitals and community services are facing an unprecedented level of demand upon their
emergency and urgent care services, so I would appeal to anyone with only minor illness or ailments – or festive revellers - to use their NHS responsibly. We want people to be able to enjoy themselves without putting themselves at risk. We would request that, unless it is an emergency, if people feel they need medical advice then please dial 111 or speak to your local pharmacist. We would request that people do not default to calling 999 or turning up to A+E with minor illnesses.
“There are better and quicker treatment options for most minor illnesses and ailments when you visit your local pharmacist or call NHS 111 for health advice.”
THE ADVICE FROM YOUR GP AND THE NHS IS: FOR MINOR ILLNESS OR AILMENTS TRY SELF CARE:
Take care of your health and keep warm in the winter. Keep a few common, over the counter
remedies at home. They can help you to look after yourself. But make sure you see your pharmacist or GP if troublesome symptoms persist or worsen.
These might include: Paracetamol or ibuprofen, remedies for indigestion or diarrhoea,
plasters and a thermometer. There is also lots of helpful health advice on the NHS Choices web site. Go to: www.nhs.uk TALK TO YOUR LOCAL PHARMACIST:
Cough or cold or just feeling unwell and need advice? Visit your pharmacy for personal advice on common illnesses and for information on the best medicines for treatment.
Find a pharmacist near you - If you need to find your nearest pharmacist searching online at: www.nhs.uk
or telephoning the 24 hour helpline 111.
111 - THE FREE NUMBER TO CALL IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHAT TO DO OR BECOME
ILL AFTER YOUR GP SURGERY HAS CLOSED:
Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly or when you don’t know what to do or where to go for treatment. Calls to 111 are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service.
Need an out-of-hours doctor? 111 is the number to call if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed in the evening, weekend or Bank Holidays. You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local health service that will help you best. YEOVIL HEALTH CENTRE:
Located on the top floor of Boots in Middle Street, Yeovil the centre is open all year round. All conditions which are not life threatening can be treated here. 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 appointments are necessary, walk in for prompt attention. Open 8am to 8pm, telephone 01935 709 269 www.yeovilhealthcentre.nhs.uk/ PERSISTENT PROBLEM - 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. COMMUNITY HOSPITAL MINOR INJURY UNIT:
Many of Somerset’s community hospitals have Minor Injury Units (MIU). There are MIUs at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead
and Shepton Mallet.
If your injury or ailment is not too serious you can get help from a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) rather than a busy hospital A&E department.
To check the location and opening hours of your nearest Minor Injury Unit go online to: www.sompar.nhs.uk/our_services/adult_services/minor_injuries_unit
Or telephone NHS 111 and they will tell you. HOSPITAL ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY AND 999:
Only use A&E or call 999 for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain, stroke, heavy bleeding or has become unconscious telephone 999 immediately for an ambulance. If any member of the public believes themselves, or a friend or relative, is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency then they should always telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.