Health professionals in Swindon have been appealing to people to choose the right service for their needs.
Up to 30 Swindon residents per day attend the Urgent Care & Emergency Department based at Great Western Hospital with minor conditions which should be treated elsewhere. This costs the NHS £100 per person which could have been spent on essential patient services. It is important people with minor complaints do not go to the Urgent Care & Emergency Department when their GP surgery is closed over the holiday period.
NHS Swindon Director of Public Health, Jenny Harries said: ‘Many services can become very busy over the winter period so it is important that patients access the right services for their needs. We don’t want to discourage anyone with a life-threatening condition from receiving immediate help, but we would remind people that there are alternatives to Emergency Department if their illness is not as urgent. Using health services wisely will help patients receive care and support at the right time and in the right place and help us ensure NHS services in Swindon are used effectively."
The out–of-hours service provides urgent general medical services when your GP surgery is closed in the evening, at weekends or bank holidays. It will run from 6.30pm on New Years Eve until 8am Tuesday 4th January. Call 01793 646466.
Pharmacy Christmas opening hours are available at: http://www.swindon.nhs.uk/Library/Publications/Xmas_New_Year_pharmacy_opening_hours_2010.pdf
As part of the NHS Swindon Choose Well campaign, we would like to encourage people to know which service is appropriate for their need.
The Urgent Care & Emergency Department or 999
The Urgent Care & Emergency Department based at Great Western Hospital is for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. Calling 999 and asking for an ambulance should only be done in an urgent, critical or life-threatening situation.
NHS walk-in centres
Walk-in centres offer convenient access to a range of treatment for minor illnesses and injuries including infections, rashes, fractures and lacerations, emergency contraception and advice, stomach upsets, cuts, bruises, burns, strains and dressing changes. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. The local walk-in centre is in the Carfax Health Centre.
If you have an illness or injury that just will not go away, make an appointment with your local GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.
As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide a range of services related to specific health issues and can advise on minor ailments such as colds, skin conditions and allergies. Other services include emergency contraception, truss fittings and incontinence supplies.
NHS Direct and NHS Choices
NHS Choices is a website where you can find up-to-date and expert advice on a range of illnesses and complaints, as well as find your nearest NHS services. Visit www.nhs.uk
NHS Direct provides a confidential telephone service, 24 hours a day, to give professional advice and guidance on health issues, call: 0845 4647.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common winter illness and injuries can be treated at home simply by using over the counter medicine with good advice, such as that from NHS Direct of your local pharmacy.