Somerset’s urgent and emergency health services continue to under pressure due to the severe weather conditions and are prioritising their support to the most urgent and seriously ill people today.
Members of the public are asked not to telephone the 999-ambulance service unless they or a family member are experiencing a serious, life-threatening emergency.
Yesterday evening (1/3/18) the Somerset health system declared a major emergency after severe weather and treacherous driving conditions meant some essential staff from hospital, community health services and out-of-hours GPs have been unable to report to their place of work or make home visits to patients in the most rural parts of the county.
Hospital, community health, social care and family doctor services are working in collaboration to ensure patients within the community with the most urgent health needs are supported.
Dr Ed Ford, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The public can help themselves and their local NHS by thinking first and not rush to contact urgent or emergency services with only minor illness or ailments. If you or your family are experiencing minor illness you are asked to consider self-care as your first option or wait until your GP Practice can offer you an appointment.
“Do not attempt to drive to a pharmacy, GP Practice or Minor Injury Unit unless it is safe to do so. Think first and chose the right level of help for your medical needs.”
Here are your options should you be affected by minor illness:
Common coughs, colds and sore throats can be treated with over-the-counter medication like paracetamol and by keeping warm and consuming warm drinks. Visit the NHS Choices web site for advice and information on a wide range of aliments and symptoms; www.nhs.uk
Visit a local pharmacist
If you are feeling unwell and need advice visit your pharmacy. Your local supermarket will usually stock common medication like paracetamol or cold remedies. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at: www.nhs.uk or by telephoning NHS 111.
Make an appointment with your GP Practice
Some GP Practices are also experiencing disruption to service due to the snow and poor weather conditions. You are advised to telephone your GP Practice first to check or visit the practice web site.
If you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent health advice or don’t know what health service you need telephone NHS 111. The number is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and free to call from mobile or landlines.
If your call is not answered immediately please wait to be answered. The NHS 111 is also busy at this time of severe winter weather.
Minor Injury Units
If you 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/
The 999-ambulance service
If you or your family are experiencing a life-threatening emergency (heart attack, stroke, severe loss of blood or unconsciousness) you should telephone 999 immediately for an ambulance.