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Help the NHS help you by choosing the right service this winter



The NHS in Coventry and Warwickshire is extremely busy with high number of patients attending A&E services at all of our local hospitals. NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in the area are therefore asking local people make sure that they choose the right service to meet their healthcare needs during the festive period.

Dr David Spraggett, Chair of NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “High numbers of patients are attending local A&E departments and so all our hospitals are under pressure in the run up to Christmas. By choosing the right service to meet their healthcare needs, local people can help the NHS help them and enable hospital services to prioritise caring for those who are most in need.”  

Choosing the right service can be confusing, here are some tips:

  • Local pharmacies can help with advise on many minor illnesses and ailments and many will be open over Christmas when other services may be closed.  Visit your local CCG website for information on pharmacy opening hours.
  • NHS 111 offers health advice and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and should be your first port of call if you don’t know which service to use and it’s not an emergency.
  • NHS Urgent Care, Minor Injuries and Walk-in Centres provide advice and treatment on a range of minor illnesses and injuries. Visit www.nhs.uk for details of your nearest centre.
  • Remember 999 and A&E should only be used in an emergency.


Here are some examples to help people choose the right service during the festive period: 

1. Cold & flu: Self care at home.  If you’re feeling a little run down after too many late nights, you may be more susceptible to a cold. Take pain-relieving paracetamol, stay well hydrated and rest. Cold and flu symptoms can last for up to 10 days.

2. An itchy rash on your skin: Pharmacy.  Allergic reaction to that new aftershave you got for Christmas?  Pharmacists will be able to assess a rash and provide you with medication to help alleviate your symptoms. 

3. Stomach ache: GP.  Over-indulgence and eating lots of rich food over the festive period may lead to indigestion.  Your pharmacist will be able to provide indigestion remedies, but if your stomach ache persists, your GP will be able to advise you of the best course of treatment.

4. A cut to your finger: Walk-in centre.  Be extra careful using a very sharp knife to carve your Christmas turkey, but if you do cut yourself and it is fairly deep and bleeding, visit your walk-in centre or minor injuries unit where they will be able to advise and treat you if necessary. 

5. Sprains & strains: Walk-in centre, self care at home or GP.  Rushing around on wet pavements to do your last-minute Christmas shopping can lead to slips and trips.  Take care and wear supportive, flat boots or shoes if you venture out.  If you do fall and sprain your ankle or wrist, you can visit a walk-in centre for assessment, rest at home, or make an appointment to see your GP.

6. Sickness and diarrhoea – Self-care at home. Sickness and diarrhoea bugs or norovirus are very common at this time of year. For most people it is no worse than a short bout of diarrhoea and vomiting that should clear up within 24-72 hours. Treatment includes staying well-hydrated and taking paracetamol. Prevent the spread of norovirus by washing your hands regularly with soap and water.

Visit your local CCG website for local pharmacy opening hours:  

·         Coventry and Rugby www.coventryrugbyccg.nhs.uk

·         South Warwickshire www.southwarwickshireccg.nhs.uk

·         Warwickshire North www.warwickshirenorthccg.nhs.uk




For further information, contact the communications team:


T: 01926 353810

E: communications@ardencsu.nhs.uk  

For out of hours press enquiries, call 07584 114511

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