Choosing the right service for your health concerns this winter

From Dr David Crichton, Chair of the Doncaster CCG

As we start to see the first signs of winter illnesses spreading. We want to help people make the right choices about the services available to them over the winter months, this will ensure Doncaster residents get the right treatment at the right time. By seeing the right service for your illness or injury, you’re not only looking after your own health but also using NHS services responsibly which frees more urgent services for those people who need them most.

Demand on emergency services increases dramatically at this time of year, so it is important that people think carefully about where to go when you are ill and ask – does this injury or illness really need emergency treatment?

Many people who attend hospital A&E departments can be managed elsewhere – they could be treated more quickly by other services and sometimes by themselves at home with basic self-care and first aid.

We know that finding the right place to go can be confusing so we thought it would be helpful highlight the different health services and options available across Doncaster.

Self-Care can the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.  A range of common winter illnesses and injuries get better on their own and can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest and time.  Make sure your home is stocked with common over-the-counter medicines such as:

  • Paracetamol
  • Plasters and a thermometer
  • Cold and flu remedies
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Anti-Diarrhoeal medicine

NHS 111 is a free phone number which should be used if your condition or illness is not serious or life threatening (if it is you should dial 999). The 111 telephone service will advise which NHS services are open nearest to you that will be able to help you with your problem. The service is open 24 hours a day, on weekends, bank holidays and during holiday periods.

Pharmacists offer advice on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains as well as advising you on the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. They can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.

For details of your nearest pharmacy click here

GP Practices If you have an illness that persists, make an appointment with your local GP.  We provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.  For details of your nearest GP surgery and their opening times, please click here.  Outside normal surgery hours you can still phone your GP surgery, but you’ll usually be directed to an out-of-hours service.

The out-of-hours period is from 6pm to 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays.

Walk-in-Centres treat minor illness and injuries that do not need a visit to A&E.  These can provide treatment for minor injuries or illnesses, such as cuts, bruises and rashes.

A&E – 999 Accident and Emergency departments should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation.  A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or badly injured.  Dialling 999 and stating a medical emergency will results in a response vehicle being sent to your location.

For information on all aspects of health and health care, visit  www.nhs.uk. The website enables you to check symptoms, conditions and treatments as well as finding telephone numbers and addresses for most NHS organisations, including hospitals and GP practices.

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