Posted by at 07/01/2013 11:26:17
Winter is the busiest time for the NHS, with cold weather leading to heart, stroke and respiratory problems along with higher numbers of injuries due to falls and viruses such as norovirus. Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people to keep A&E departments free for those with life-threatening and serious illness and injuries.
The message is simple: phone first.
Patients should call their own GP practice whenever possible. Many surgeries offer a call-back service for patients who urgently need to speak to a doctor and if the practice is closed, the number will have information on GP Out of Hours.
Over the last few years, the NHS has introduced a number of services to relieve the pressure on hospital A&Es during winter. In addition to GP practices, these also include NHS Direct, minor injury units and enhanced local pharmacy services. In most cases people will receive advice and treatment much quicker than if they had gone to their nearest A&E.
Dr Mark Jones, Clinical Accountable Officer for Canterbury and Coastal CCG said: “Our hospitals are fully prepared if there is a rise in admissions of patients with life-threatening and serious illness and injuries but they should not be the first port of call for everyone who is feeling unwell or needs treatment for a minor injury. A simple phone call will save most people a trip to A&E”.
Most minor injury centres are open between 8am and 8pm and local pharmacists can advise on treatment for many ailments including flu and norovirus.