Local doctors from Coastal West Sussex are urging people to think about where they can get the best possible NHS treatment this Christmas and New Year should they need urgent help.
Health services across the county are currently seeing and treating a significant number of patients and it is expected this is only likely to rise over the next two weeks.
Dr David Whitehead, Clinical Director for NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, said: “Across the whole country the NHS is currently seeing a significant increase in the number of patients needing help and support. The teams in our hospitals, community services and GP surgeries are doing a fantastic job, but the reality is they are under significant pressure.
“As a result we are asking people to think twice about where you can get the best possible care if you are unwell. We all want to get better quickly when we are poorly, especially at this time of the year, but making sensible choices about which NHS service to use can mean you can make sure emergency services are there for those that need that care the most.
“Many people who visit A&E could be treated more quickly and appropriately by another NHS service, and there is a concern that at the times when GP practices will be closed this Christmas week, more people will go to A&E when they could get more appropriate help elsewhere.
“Please remember that coughs, colds, diarrhoea and vomiting can all be treated at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest. You can also get expert NHS help from your local pharmacist, who offers free, quick advice on many health issues, how to look after yourself at home, and medicines to treat common illnesses and injuries.
“If you need more urgent medical advice when your GP practice is closed, call NHS 111 for advice on how you can receive the most appropriate support and treatment. They can help to signpost you to the nearest local NHS service, give you advice, or book an appointment with an out-of-hours doctor.”
We also know many people will run out of their routine medication at this time of year, and so people are being urged to checking your repeat prescriptions and speaking to your GP practice or pharmacy if you are about to run out.
Find out more about which NHS services are available over Christmas and New Year, including which pharmacies are open on the bank holidays and weekends – click here
NHS 111: If you need medical help but you don’t know where to go or how to get help, please call 111 trained NHS advisors (supported by nurses and paramedics) will direct you to the most appropriate NHS service to help you.
It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Pharmacy: Your local pharmacist can help by being able to advise on a number of different ailments such as cough, sore throat, skin rash, diarrhoea and/or vomiting, constipation, headache and eye conditions.
To find your nearest pharmacy, click here
Out of Hours GP service: If you need urgent medical advice or treatment when your GP practice is closed, you can call NHS 111. You will be given advice over the telephone or given an urgent appointment with a nurse or doctor at an out of hours GP practice.
The NHS 111 service might be busier than usual at peak times such as early evening so it might be better to dial 111 at a less busy time if your call isn’t urgent.
This service is not for repeat prescriptions, test results or routine appointments.
Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment Centres across West Sussex:
• Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital Minor Injury Unit Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays Shripney Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO22 9PP Telephone: 01243 865 418
• Horsham Hospital Minor Injury Unit Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays Hurst Road, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2DR Telephone: 01293 600300 ext 7202
• Queen Victoria Hospital Minor Injury Unit Open 8 am to 10pm, seven days a week, including bank holidays Holtye Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3DZ Telephone: 01342 414375
• Crawley Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre All centres are open 24 hours a day, seven days, including bank holidays West Green Drive, Crawley, West Sussex, RH11 7DH Telephone: 01293 600300 ext 4141
Dental help: If you need emergency dental help, calling 111 can also put you in touch with the emergency dental service, which has clinics across West Sussex.
Mental health support: If you – or a loved one – are feeling worried, anxious or depressed, or feel you need help with your mental health, there is help available. Please call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0300 5000 101 – it’s available Monday to Friday from 5pm to 9am, and 24 hours at the weekend and on bank holidays. For telephone support you can also call the Samaritans on 08457 909090.
Please remember that A&E is only for serious, life-threatening injuries and illness that need urgent medical attention, such as stroke, severe chest pain, and heavy bleeding.
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