Make sure you know where to turn
It’s important that we all know where to turn when we or someone we care for needs help for their physical or mental health and there are many NHS services that are on hand to help and support, but its also important to ensure you are contacting the right service for your need.
Always ask yourself:
- Is this something I could care for at home from a well stocked medicine cabinet or with a good first aid kit. For more information on self care generally visit the Frimley Health and Care dedicated webpage.
- Do I want to check my symptoms or get a little reassurance - then use the NHS.UK website for advice and guidance on many symptoms and when to seek help.
- Is this something my local pharmacy could help me with? They can offer advice, guidance and in some cases medication.
- If relating to a child under 18 have I checked the Frimley Healthier Together website? it contains lots of helpful information on common childhood issues including when it's important to seek urgent and emergency care.
- Do I really need to contact my GP practice and if so do I know all the routes to do that? - This is usually via an online consultation, over the phone or in person.
- Should I contact NHS 111 online, www.111.nhs.uk or phone 111? They can offer advice and guidance if you are unsure where to turn and can support when your GP practice is closed - If you chose to call NHS 111, please be patient and know that they may advise you during usual opening hours to contact your GP practice, direct you to your out-of-hours service or suggest you attend your closest Minor Injuries Unit.
- Do I need urgent or emergency care services?
Wait... but what is urgent and what is an emergency?
It's really important that you know the difference - for yourself and your care needs but also for your local healthcare system as demand for NHS services increases.
Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) services support local people to receive the right care, by the right professional, as quickly as possible. These services perform a critical role in saving lives and keeping people healthy. Across England, the NHS responds to more than 110 million urgent calls or visits every year.
To help relieve pressure on very busy A&E departments, such as those at Wexham Park Hospital and Frimley Park Hospital and to ensure patients get the right care, it is essential you understand the difference between urgent and emergency care and where you can turn to when you need help.
Lets look at what this means:
Emergency: Life-threatening illnesses or accidents which require immediate, intensive treatment. Services that should be accessed in an emergency include ambulance (via 999) and emergency departments.
Examples of life-threatening emergencies include heart attacks, strokes, breathing difficulties, severe burns or trauma or loss of consciousness.
Urgent: An illness or injury that requires urgent attention but is not a life-threatening situation.
Urgent care services cover a range of options such as a phone consultation through the NHS 111 Clinical Assessment Service, pharmacy advice, out-of-hours GP appointments, and / or referral to an urgent treatment centre (UTC).
Examples of injuries or illnesses which require urgent attention are suspected broken bones, minor head injuries, minor burns or stomach pains.
If you're unsure what service is needed, NHS 111 can help to assess and direct you to the appropriate service. You can access them online or by phone.