People who need health help this winter are being urged to choose the right place for treatment and help ease the pressure on local NHS services.
Norfolk and Waveney’s NHS Clinical Commissioning groups are reminding people of the range of options available to them, which include:
· Self caring at home for common conditions such as coughs, colds and sore throats, using over the counter medication.
· Local pharmacists, who are experts in medicines and can give advice about minor illnesses so that you can care for yourself at home.
· Your GP surgery, which can offer appointments with different clinicians, including a doctor or nurse, depending on your needs. There are appointments in the evenings and at some weekends – ask your practice when you call.
· Walk-in centres; The Norwich Walk-in Centre is open every day, 365 days of the year between 7am and 9pm (check times on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at www.norwichwalkincentre.co.uk/. It is based in Rouen Road, Norwich, telephone 01603 677500. Cromer Minor Injuries Unit is open every day, 8am-7.45pm, in Mill Road, Cromer, telephone 01603 646200.
· NHS 111, which is for people who need urgent medical help or advice but are not in a life-threatening situation. Your call will be answered by a trained call handler, whose job it is to ensure you can access the most appropriate local service. You can call 111 24 hours a day if:
- you need to see a GP urgently when your practice is closed. NHS 111 can arrange for an emergency out of hours doctor to help if necessary.
- you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.
- you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service.
- you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call.
- you need health information or reassurance about what to do next
You can find your nearest surgery or pharmacy by visiting NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk
People are also being reminded to stock up their medicine cabinets and make sure they have enough prescription medication to last them through Christmas and the New Year.
Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.
Planning ahead like this is very important to help stay well and it also helps the NHS at a time when services are busy.
It is also important to make sure medicine cabinets contain all the essential items.
Medicine cabinet essentials include:
· painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, including versions for children
· over-the-counter cough, cold, flu and indigestion remedies
· antiseptic cream