People across the Vale of York looking to enjoy the festive break with their families are being encouraged to choose the right NHS service should they suffer a minor illness or injury.
NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want to make sure that people know the best place to go in order to get the most suitable treatment, should they encounter a cold or flu, bruise, sprain, minor wound or fracture.
Choosing the right service will ensure patients receive the best possible treatment, while freeing up busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.
Dr Andrew Phillips, Local GP and Deputy Chief Clinical Officer at the CCG, said: “A&E departments are often seen as the first place to go, when in fact there are other NHS services that may be more suitable, such as your local pharmacy, walk in centre or GP.”
“Pharmacists can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries, and many are open until late and at weekends. If you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency, you can call NHS 111, which is a free service and can quickly direct you to the right service. It also ensures that the 999 number is kept free for very serious emergency medical cases.”
Having home remedies to hand is useful for minor illness and injury, so ensure that your medicine cabinet is stocked up with pain relief, anti-diarrhoea medicine, cough and sore throat remedies, plasters, a thermometer, antihistamines and antiseptic cream.
Dr Andrew Phillips added: “A&E provides urgent treatment for serious, life-threatening conditions. Before you go there, ask yourself, is it a real emergency?
“It is important that everyone knows when is the right time to head to A&E. Unnecessary trips, with conditions that could be treated by a pharmacist, or GP, or simply by resting at home, place high demand on the service. It can mean people who need immediate, life-saving care have to wait. So it’s important that you think carefully about the situation first and only go A&E if it is absolutely necessary.
“Planning ahead and understanding what your options are in an emergency will help you get the best care as quickly as possible.”
Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care and Chair of York's Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "Winter is a difficult time of year, particularly for vulnerable people, and a busy time for health services across the city. There are a number of services available to offer support and advice, including pharmacies and 111, whose expert advice can prevent the need for a visit to a GP and help you stay well this winter."
The range of local health services in the Vale of York area includes:
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. A range of common illnesses and complaints, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.
Think Pharmacy First
Need to talk to an expert? Your local high street pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, without having to wait for a GP appointment or at A&E.
Pharmacists can also dispense repeat prescriptions without the need to visit your GP – speak to your GP or pharmacist to arrange this.
Illness or injury that won’t go away? Make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment and when absolutely essential can make home visits.
If you need urgent medical care at a time when your surgery is closed (and it can’t wait until the morning) call your surgery number and you will receive information on how to access the care or advice you need. The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm – 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.
Need medical advice quickly? When you call NHS 111 you will speak to an adviser who will help you decide what medical help you need, tell you where you need to go to get medical help and transfer you to the service you need. You should use the service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not life threatening.
Urgent Care Centre
Cut? Sprain? Minor burn? The Urgent Care Centre is for minor illness or injury that requires urgent attention or advice and is situated at the A&E Department at York Hospital, Wigginton Road, York YO31 8HE. The Urgent Care Centre is open 8am – 6pm, seven days a week. You don’t need an appointment and will be seen by an experienced NHS nurse.
Minor Injuries Unit (MIU)
Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) offer fast, convenient and expert care for minor illnesses and ailments including cuts, grazes, wounds, sprains and minor burns.
A nurse-led MIU is based at Selby Hospital, Doncaster Road, Selby YO8 9BX and is open 7.30am – 9pm, seven days a week.
Another nurse-led MIU is based at Malton Hospital, Middlecave Road, Malton YO17 7NG and is open 9am – 5pm, seven days a week.
A&E and 999
Difficulty breathing? Heavy bleeding? Broken bones? Chest pain? Accident and Emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. Dialling 999 and stating an emergency situation will result in a response vehicle being sent to your location.
The CCG is also encouraging patients to sign up to a free, online service that allows everyone registered with a GP access to a range of services via your computer of mobile and can save unnecessary trips to your GP.
GP online enables users to book or cancel appointments online with a GP or nurse, renew or order repeat prescriptions online and view parts of your GP health record, including information about medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results.