Would you know the right place to go if you were sick or had an accident? And what if you, or a family member is taken ill over the holiday period or out of hours – would you know what to do?
If you’re unsure, then you’re not alone! It can be confusing deciding whether or not you need emergency treatment at A&E, or whether your condition can be treated by a GP.
But with a better understanding of which service is most suitable for you, depending on the illness or injury, you can help relieve pressure on NHS services at a busy time of year – and make sure you get the right treatment, faster.
Here’s a quick guide to the different NHS services available and when they might be useful for you:
If you’re unsure or confused about what the medical problem is, you can call 111 for advice about a non-threatening medical need.
Your local chemist
It’s easy to forget that pharmacists in chemists can give you great health care advice and information. They are experts in medicine and can help you decide whether you need to see a doctor or not.
Here you can receive advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, and have consultations about health issues.
Your GP is best at helping you if you have an injury or illness that won’t go away or if you have a long term condition. Problems such as vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache and back ache are also best seen to by a GP.
Dialling 999 or visiting A&E
You should only call for an ambulance or visit A&E for serious and life threatening injuries.
Plenty of common illnesses and injuries can be treated by you at home with rest and over-the-counter medicines.
North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has produced a short animation to highlight the services available and encourage people to choose well this winter.
If you think going to a walk-in centre is appropriate, you can visit any of our local NHS Trust, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s centres in Huyton, Kirkby and Halewood. You can receive advice and treatment on a range of minor injuries and illnesses including:
- Infections and rashes (if you think you might have measles, you should stay at home and phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice).
- Minor cuts and bruises.
- Minor burns and strains.
- Emergency contraception and advice for under 25s.
- Insect and animal bites.
- Stomach aches and upsets.
- Stitches and dressing care.
- Coughs and flu-like symptoms.
You can find out more information about the walk-in centres in Knowsley here.