Would you know who to call if you became seriously ill or injured overnight or at the weekend?
Family doctors in Somerset are reminding the public to use the NHS 111 number when they have emergencies that are not life-threatening but they are not sure about the most appropriate treatment for their level of illness or injury.
Dr Ed Ford, a Somerset GP and Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group explained: “As a doctor I still find some people unsure what to do or where to go when they become ill or injured, particularly over public holidays like Christmas and the New Year.
“Most people are registered with a GP practice and can now have pre-booked appointments up to 8.00pm at night and at weekends.
“If you become ill or injured after your GP surgery has closed, you can ring their telephone number which will have an answer phone message instructing you on what course of action to take.
“Call 111 when you urgently need health advice or emergency medical treatment, and you cannot wait for an appointment at your GP practice, and when other options won’t offer the treatment you need.”
For injuries which are not serious, there are Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead and Shepton Mallet that are less busy than Accident and Emergency departments. By doing so, A & E staff can concentrate on patients with life-threatening conditions.
There are other alternatives to your GP including your local phamacist who is an expert in medicines and is most likely conveniently located near you. They will also have longer opening hours.
It’s also a good idea to keep your medicine cabinet stocked up with paracetamol, bandages, sticking plasters, antiseptic cream and indigestion tablets. Also be sure to get repeat prescriptions before the Christmas holiday begins. To get information and health advice online visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and the number is free to call from your home or mobile telephone. You should telephone NHS 111 if:
- You need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency
- You think you need to go to A & E or another NHS urgent care service
- You don’t know who to call for medical help or are not registered with a GP Practice
- You urgently need health information or reassurance about what to do next.
When you call 111 you will speak with a trained adviser. They will ask you questions to find out what help you need.
If you or a family member is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, such as a stroke, heart attack, severe loss of blood or someone is unconscious; you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
You can find out more about NHS 111 by visiting www.nhs.uk/111