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A&E is not the place for winter coughs, colds and minor ailments

Help yourself and your local NHS this winter by getting the right treatment

The NHS in Somerset is urging members of the public to get the right treatment and avoid telephoning for a 999 ambulance or visiting busy district hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments with only minor illness or ailments.

The advice comes as the county’s district hospitals in Taunton and Yeovil have been experiencing exceptionally high demand at this time, largely due to the high numbers of frail elderly and sick patients being admitted to the hospital by ambulance.

Doctors have advised people with flu-like symptoms to rest, drink plenty of water and take Paracetamol where needed. However, doctors are reminding people, particularly the elderly, to seek medical advice at the first start of illness and not wait until they become more seriously ill.

“Dr Ed Ford, a Somerset GP and chair of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said, “You can help yourself and the NHS by thinking first and getting the right treatment for your health needs. At the first sign of illness get advice from your community pharmacist. If you are ill, make an appointment with your GP practice and if you don’t know where to go or what service you need, please telephone NHS 111 for help or advice. The number is free to call and available 24 hours a day.”

There are more convenient health services available for the public to use if they have only minor illness, injury or ailments. These are:

Minor Injury Units:

If members of the public in Somerset have urgent need for medical treatment there are seven Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital (near Glastonbury).

Details of the Minor Injury Units’ opening hours are available by calling NHS 111 (the number is free to call from mobiles or your home telephone) or by going online to the Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  web site at:  http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/what-we-do/community-hospitals/minor-injury-units/

See your local pharmacists:

If you are feeling unwell and need advice, visit your pharmacy. You don’t need an appointment and they can advise on the best medicines for many common illnesses. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at:  www.nhs.uk  or by telephoning 111.

Telephone NHS 111:

Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly, but it’s not a 999 life-threatening emergency.  Calls are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service.

You should also call 111 if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent advice or medical help.  You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that will help you best. www.nhs.uk/111

Make an appointment at your GP practice

If you need to see a GP or member of your GP practice you can book an urgent on-the day appointment by telephoning your practice.  GP practices in Somerset now offer extended access to pre-booked routine appointments up until 8.00pm in the evening and at weekends.

Ask your GP receptionist for details.

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