When we are feeling under the weather we all want to receive appropriate advice as soon as possible. By understanding which NHS service to use, and when to use it, we can help to make sure that the thousands of people feeling unwell this winter get the care they need, as swiftly as possible.
With pressures expected to rise during the cold winter months NHS organisations across Hampshire are urging people to use the most appropriate service for their care. However, with the number of services that are available choosing which one to use can be difficult, but NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is here to help.
Going to A&E or calling 999 should be reserved for when someone is seriously ill with, for example, breathing difficulties, chest pains, or persistent and heavy bleeding or has a serious injury i.e. broken bones.
If urgent medical help or information is needed, or an individual is unsure of what service they require, call NHS 111. It is a free service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 111 service does not offer diagnosis over the phone, rather it advises and directs the individual to the appropriate service.
If your illness is not life-threatening and you have been feeling unwell for a while you may need to visit your doctor.
Not all ailments require a GP appointment; pharmacists are an excellent source of help and are fully trained to give advice for a wide variety of symptoms. This means you don’t have to spend time waiting at your GP practice.
As well as the pharmacist, the NHS Choices website can provide lots of useful information to relieve symptoms at home.
Dr Andy Whitfield, Farnborough GP and the Clinical Chair at North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, said: “We want the health and care services available to our local population to make a real, positive difference to people’s health and wellbeing, and making them easy to access is vital in achieving this.
“Whether we are helping people to care for themselves better or arranging services for life-threatening emergencies, we work to ensure all of the options are covered and that people know the choices available to them.
“Knowing where to turn will serve us all well throughout the year and particularly so during the winter months, when health services can often find themselves under much greater pressure.”