As the Easter bank holiday approaches, localGPs in Camden are asking people to choose the right service for their needs and not to go to A&E unless they have a serious, or life threatening illness or injury.
The Easter break is a perfect time to relax or get a few chores done around the house. But if you happen to injure yourself getting those chores done, or suddenly become ill, the GP out-of-hours service, walk-in centres, many pharmacies and the NHS 111 service will be working over the long weekend to make sure people can access the most appropriate care for them.
So how do you know what service to choose? If you need help or advice there are a range of options and even a smartphone app to help you find the right care.
If it’s a common illness such as coughs or colds that’s worrying you, these are best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist can offer advice on how to best look after yourself at home with rest and over the counter treatments.
Local urgent care services can treat most minor injuries that are urgent, but not life threatening. This can include suspected broken bones, cuts, and rashes, as well as minor burns, bruises, bites and stings.
The free Choose Well North London app can locate the nearest health centre, GP practice, pharmacist or hospital across north London and even give you details of opening hours. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
Dr Caz Sayer, local GP and chair of Camden Clinical Commissioning Group said, “Often people needing medical help go to A&E when there may be another service, for example their GP, pharmacist, the 111 NHS number or their local urgent care centre that is better placed to help.
“The A&E departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious, life-threatening or dangerous conditions. People can get the right advice and treatment faster and when they need it if they choose the right NHS service for their symptoms or illness or injury.
“By helping people to choose well we can reduce the pressure on the NHS which helps us to see everyone more quickly.”
If you’re still unsure where to go for the right treatment or if you need urgent medical advice, you should call the NHS 111 number. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by fully trained advisors and experienced clinicians.