Feeling a bit ropey? Thinking of going to A&E? Why not think again and be confident when choosing the right NHS service for you, advise Calderdale doctors, who have issued guidelines for 15 to 24-year-olds.
There’s more to the NHS than just GPs and A&E. There’s a whole range of services that can treat you just as well and in most cases quicker than A&E.
We don’t expect you to know them, as you’re mostly healthy and don’t need the NHS very often, but there are three things you can do ready for when you do need medical attention:
1. Register with a GP / know where your nearest walk-in centre is by visiting www.nhs.uk.
A GP walk-in centre is manned by GPs, but you don’t need an appointment or to be registered with them. You can simply turn up.
A lot of students aren’t registered with a GP surgery in their university town or city, but it’s really easy, and quick, to do. Just put your shared house or hall of residence postcode into www.nhs.uk, then visit or ring your chosen practice to register with them. You’ll need to give them your NHS number – if you don’t have it, your current GP surgery, or your parents, should be able to help.
2. If you have a health issue that’s not an emergency and you’re not sure what to do, there’s a new number you can ring – 111.
The NHS will then give you advice on the best course of action.
3. Save this web address as a favourite on your smartphone, tablet and/or laptop: www.nhs.uk
This will help you find your nearest NHS services simply by entering your postcode. You can also find advice for treating common health conditions at home, and see when you do need to pay a visit to the doctor.
Here’s a short quiz to see if you would choose well
You’ve hurt your ankle dancing in those killer heels at the weekend. Do you:
- Dial 999?
- Go to A&E?
- Rest with your leg elevated; use an ice pack, wait to see how it feels when the swelling goes down and don’t be surprised if it takes between 6 – 8 weeks before feeling back to normal?
You’re sure you’ve contracted man-flu. Your head feels full of cotton wool but you can still function. Do you:
- Go to the GP demanding antibiotics?
- Go to A&E asking for the night nurse?
- Go to the pharmacy for cough and cold remedies, and then take to your bed with plenty of fluids?
You’ve got the lurgy and you know this because it’s manifesting from both ends *ahem*. Do you:
- Get your mate to drive you to A&E?
- Phone Mum?
- Go see the pharmacist for relief medicines, wash your hands regularly and keep away from hospitals with vulnerable people in?
You’re planning on a big night in the student union bar. Do you:
- Hope your friends will take you to A&E if you pass out?
- Hope someone will flag down a passing ambulance?
- Be sensible. And failing that, make sure you’re stocked up on painkillers and drink plenty of water.
The correct answer to all of these is c.
Dr Alan Brook, chair of NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “In all seriousness, A&E only deals with real emergencies and saving lives.
“We should only be using it for serious illness like choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures.
“The right NHS services are everywhere – we just need you to stop and think – and then choose the right one.”
For more information contact the Media Hub at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07824 463578
Note to editors:
NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is made up of 26 GP practices who have taken over some of the responsibilities of primary care trusts (PCTs) from April 2013. The CCG will ensure that clinical people like GPs and nurses are more involved in deciding what services should be provided for local people. Its vision is ‘Improving health, improving lives.’
- Visit www.nhs.uk to find your nearest GP, walk-in centre or pharmacy, or get qualified health information.
- If it’s urgent, but not an emergency, you can also ring 111 to get health advice 24 hours a day.