Region’s NHS reminds patients to choose wisely this bank holiday weekend
NHS organisations across the North East and North Cumbria are reminding patients to think ahead if they need health care advice or services over the bank holiday weekend.
To help ease the pressure at a very busy time of year for A&E departments and the ambulance service, the NHS is asking people with non-emergency health issues to visit a local pharmacy, make a GP appointment or call 111.
In most cases, this will mean people receive the most appropriate advice and care much quicker.
People are also being asked to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before the bank holiday weekend.
Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations, Dr Neil O’Brien, who is chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Forum said:
“The public responded brilliantly during the ransom-ware cyber-attack by using our NHS services wisely, and took our advice thinking twice to use alternative forms of help before attending A&E or calling 999.
“Our A&E departments and ambulance service can get extremely busy over bank holidays and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need, and that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting in accident and emergency departments.”
If it’s not an emergency, then there are number of ways to seek help.
There is a wealth of information on the NHS Choices website where you can check out symptoms and find advice for treating minor illnesses which usually get better on their own. You can also find information about your local walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units by typing in your postcode.
For parents who have children under five years old and need advice on how to identify and treat common childhood illness, download the free NHS child health app.
The app has been developed by local doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, search NHS child health.
Pharmacists are highly experienced clinical professionals, and are often open longer hours in local neighbourhoods. They can provide instant, confidential advice and offer over the counter treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.
For local pharmacy opening hours, over the bank holiday period, people should log onto www.urgentoremergency.co.uk/gp-opening-times
NHS 111 can also provide advice on other local services such as walk-in centres and, in some cases, can directly book GP appointments in some areas.
By looking at these alternatives first, patients will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an A&E department.