The NHS in Somerset is urging members of the public to get the right treatment and avoid telephoning for a 999 ambulance or visiting busy district hospital Accident and Emergency Departments with only minor illness or ailments.
The advice comes as the county’s district hospitals in Taunton and Yeovil have been experiencing exceptionally high demand, largely due to the high numbers of frail elderly and sick patients being admitted to the hospital by ambulance.
“Dr Ed Ford, a Somerset GP and Chair of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “You can help yourself and the NHS by thinking first and getting the right treatment for your health needs.
“At the first sign of illness get advice from your community pharmacist. If you are ill book an appointment with your GP Practice and if you don’t where to go or what service you need then please telephone NHS 111 for help or advice. The number is free to call and available 24 hours a day.”
Taunton’s Musgrove Park Hospital and local authority Public Health experts are also reminding members of the public to avoid visiting care homes, schools or hospitals if they have experienced Norovirus within the last 48 hours. The virus is easily spread and causes highly infectious symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea. Check hospital web sites for the latest visiting advice.
Louise Woolway, a Public Health consultant, with Somerset County Council said: “Infectious illness, like Norovirus, is very common at this time of year and whilst the fit and healthy recover quickly from the symptoms, the elderly and frail can become quite ill. Good personal hygiene, like washing your hands with soap and water after going to the toilet and before preparing food for others is an essential way to reduce the spread of this unpleasant illness to friends and family.”
If you or family members are experiencing minor illness, injury or ailments this winter get the right treatment from the following services:
Talk to your local pharmacists:
If you feeling unwell and need advice visit your pharmacy. You don’t need an appointment and they can advise on the best medicines for many common illnesses. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at www.nhs.uk or by telephoning 111.
Telephone NHS 111:
Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly – but it’s not a 999 life- threatening emergency. Calls are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service.
You should also call 111 if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent advice or medical help. You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that will help you best. www.nhs.uk/111
Make an appointment at your GP Practice
If you need to see a GP or member of your GP Practice you can book an urgent on-the day appointment by telephoning your practice. GP Practices in Somerset now offer extended access to pre-booked routine appointments up until 8.00pm in the evening and at weekends. Ask you GP receptionist for details.
Minor Injury Units:
If members of the public in Somerset have an urgent need for medical treatment there are seven Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital (Near Glastonbury).
Details of the Minor Injury Units’ opening hours are available by calling NHS 111 (the number is free to call from mobiles or your home telephone) or by going online to the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust web site at: http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/community-hospitals/minor-injury-units/
Issued by Somerset CCG Press Office