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Issue 315 – “Think first before rushing to hospital” Minor Injury Unit asks patients to think before rushing to busy district hospital casualty departments with minor ailments

Frome Community Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU) staff are reminding patients to make sure they help themselves and their local NHS by ‘choosing well’ and getting the most appropriate level of treatment should they fall ill or have a minor injury this winter.

A visit to a busy district hospital Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) is not the right thing to do for only minor ailments; however, many people still remain unclear about what a medical emergency is and what level of treatment they really need.
This winter’s NHS ‘Choose Well’ campaign again uses its familiar colour-coded thermometer as a way to help remind patients to choose the health service most appropriate for their medical condition, and best reflecting the level of seriousness of their ailment or injury.
Janet Thomas, a senior emergency nurse practitioner with Somerset Community Health explains, “There is a wide range of NHS services and facilities available in Mendip to help people if they become ill during the winter months.
“If you just think first and consider what level of support you really need you will find you save yourself a lot of time and effort. Rushing straight off to a district hospital A&E or telephoning 999 should be reserved for life threatening and emergency conditions only.
“If your injury is not serious you can get help from your nearest community hospital’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU) rather than a district hospital A&E department. By doing so you allow A&E staff to concentrate on the people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait.”
Frome Community Hospital’s Minor Injury Unit is open seven days a week from 8.00am until 11.00pm. The hospital is located at Enos Way – Tel 01373 454740.
To find your nearest community hospital minor injury unit telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit www.nhsdirect.com
The ‘Choose Well’ winter health campaign tries to encourage patients to stop and consider what their real level of health needs is. The options can include:
Visit your local pharmacists: cough or cold, feeling unwell and ill and need advice? Visit your pharmacy for personal advice on common winter illnesses and for information on the best medicines for treatment.
Self care: If you are stocked up with over the counter treatments then you can look after your cold or flu at home, but make sure you see your pharmacist or GP if troublesome symptoms persist or worsen.
Telephone NHS Direct: Help is always close at hand with confidential health advice and information through telephone, digital TV and online, 24 hours a day. Experts provide advice and answers to health-related questions. Telephone 0845 4647 or log onto www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Visit your GP: There are 75 GP surgeries across the county providing a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. Should you become ill after your GP surgery has closed the Somerset Out of Hours Emergency Medical Service is available. You can access the number by telephoning your usual GP surgery number and listening to the answer phone message or by telephoning 0845 408 8000.
Go to your nearest community hospital Minor Injury Unit: There are 12 community hospitals across Somerset. If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than a busy hospital A&E department.
By doing so you allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait. To check your local MIU’s location and opening hours ring NHS Direct or go to: www.somerset.nhs. uk/community/our-services2/minor-injuries-unit
Accident and Emergency: Only use A&E or call 999 for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or have become unconscious telephone 999 immediately.
For further information on how to protect yourself and your family this winter please visit www. nhs.uk. If any member of the public believes they, or a friend or relative, is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency then they should always telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.

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