With seasonal illnesses like flu and tummy bugs beginning to circulate, pressure on the NHS increases. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Coventry and Warwickshire are highlighting the telephone health service available across the area to help people access the right health services first time.
If you’re generally fit and healthy, you may be unsure what to do or where to go with unexpected or urgent healthcare needs. In most instances people don’t need A&E or 999, and accessing more suitable healthcare could result in being seen quicker.
NHS111makes it easy for you to access healthcare advice when you need medical help fast, but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
NHS111 is a free number, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call handlers can provide health advice, put you in touch with the right service, arrange to have you seen by a doctor or call you an ambulance. The service is manned by trained call handlers with nurses on site to offer support if needed. Callers’ symptoms are assessed and they are given the healthcare advice they need or are directed immediately to the right service.
NHS South Warwickshire CCG, NHS Warwickshire North CCG and NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG are asking that A&E and 999 is only used for emergencies such as heavy blood loss, chest pains, loss of consciousness or broken bones.
Dr David Spraggett of NHS South Warwickshire CCG, said: “We ask the public to think before they go to A&E or call 999. These services need to be free to deal with real emergencies and should only be used in genuine emergency situations.
“Telephone services such as NHS111 are designed to offer answers, reassurance, advice and support you need as well as being convenient and open around the clock.”
Those with internet access can also visit www.nhs.uk/111
Don’t forget you can also visit a pharmacist, make an appointment to see a GP (both in and out of hours) or visit a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.