Demand is always high for NHS urgent and emergency services during winter and particularly at Christmas and new year. Pressure builds as the weather gets colder and plummeting temperatures can result in more people being admitted to hospital.
As a result, the NHS has started planning earlier than ever before with hospitals, GPs, social services and other health professionals working out the best way of providing urgent care services locally, while enabling A&E to be kept free for those who need it most. As part of that process, they're reaching out to provide advice on how, when, and where to head to for care and support.
What service should I use?
If you have minor cuts and grazes, minor bruises, a sprain or a slight cough or cold, you are best to deal with it yourself in the first instance. It’s worth keeping a few handy medicines and treatments at home for when you might need them such as painkillers, cough and cold remedies, decongestants, indigestion tablets and a first aid kit but remember to keep them out of reach of children. If you’re not sure go to a pharmacist or phone NHS 111.
If you want some expert advice quickly, try a pharmacist as your first port of call. They can provide advice and treatments for common health problems such as coughs, colds, flu and rashes. It may save you a trip to your GP surgery – you don’t need an appointment and you can speak in a private area. You’ll be advised if they think you need further help.
If you’re really not sure what to do, or it is outside GP hours, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for help. So if you think you might need to go to the Emergency Department or need another NHS urgent care service, don’t know who to call for medical help or need information about a health issue, give them a call. You can also go online to 111.nhs.uk
For persistent symptoms contact your GP Practice, especially if you are worried. If your symptoms haven’t improved or are getting worse make an appointment. If you have a repeat prescription check your medication and make sure you re-order in plenty of time before the festive break.
MINOR INJURIES SERVICES OR WALK-IN CENTRE
If you have a minor injury or illness your best option is the Walk-in Centre based next to A&E at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (Mytton Oak Rd, Shrewsbury, SY3 8XQ). It is GP-led, open from 8am – 8pm, every day. It is equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for - including broken bones, sprains and strains, minor cuts and wound infections. And you’ll often be seen more quickly than at A&E. Don’t forget there are Minor Injuries Units (MIUs), too at:
- Bridgnorth Community Hospital (01746 462641 – 8am – 9.30pm daily)
- Ludlow Community Hospital (01584 872201– 8am – 8pm daily)
- Oswestry Health Centre (01691 663617– 8.30am – 6pm week days, 8.30am to 1pm weekends)
- Whitchurch Community Hospital (01948 660834– 8am – 5pm week days, closed weekends)
For emergencies only. A&E services are always among the busiest parts of the NHS and the festive season is no exception. As with all parts of the NHS though they are here to help when they are needed so for critical or life-threatening situations such as if someone is choking, experiencing chest pains, blacking out or losing a lot of blood dial 999 immediately.
Top 8 Things To Remember
- Keep the Emergency Department free for those with critical or life-threatening conditions.
- Contact NHS111 - call free from any landline or mobile and open 24/7
- Call in to see your local pharmacist who can offer expert advice to help ease symptoms and a range of over the counter medicines and remember no appointment is necessary
- Check your GP practice website for information on appointment information or online consultations.
- Make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked up with painkillers (Paracetamol and Ibuprofen), indigestion remedies, plasters, antiseptic cream, eye wash antihistamines and oral rehydration sachets (salt sachets) and thermometer.
- Get a flu jab – ask at your surgery or pharmacy.
- Order repeat prescriptions in good time, particularly ahead of bank holidays.
- For Pharmacy opening times over Christmas and New Year check shropshireccg.nhs.uk