PEOPLE in the Rugby are being urged to make sure they ‘choose well’ when they access the NHS after a significant rise in very poorly patients.
With the cold snap now into its third week, the number of patients with conditions such as respiratory complaints, chest pains as well as slips trips and falls has risen significantly.
On Sunday (February 12), the Trust saw a 14% increase in incidents compared to what would have been normal for the time of year – this equates to just under 300 extra patients. On Friday it was up by 10% or over 200 incidents.
Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Mark Gough, said: “Clearly people who can’t breathe properly or who are potentially having a heart attack are obviously very serious.
“What people often forget is that for some elderly people, slipping and breaking something like a hip can also be life threatening.
“With the extremely cold temperatures, ice and snow, it has been a really difficult period for people who are less steady on their feet.
“Because of the increases in these types of calls, it is even more important than ever that people use the NHS wisely.
“Not only is the ambulance service very busy, all of the acute hospitals are too.
“I would urge people to make sure, if appropriate, that they use all of the many other parts of the NHS prior to calling 999 or going to an A&E department.
“The NHS has a range of services available.
These include: Step 1: Self Care
Keep your own medicine cabinet stocked with common remedies for coughs, colds and headaches as well as items such as sticking plasters for minor wounds and grazes. Very minor illnesses and injuries can be treated in your home using over the counter medicine and having plenty of rest.
Step 2: Your local pharmacist
Visit your local pharmacy for over-the-counter medicines and advice. Get advice on illnesses and medicines when you are suffering from common health problems, which do not need to be seen by a nurse or doctor.
Step 3: Call NHS Direct
They can give a wide range of confidential health advice and information about many conditions 24 hours a day. They can also help you find health services in your local area.
Telephone:0845 46 47
Step 4: Use a ‘walk-in’, urgent care or minor injuries units
They offer confidential healthcare advice and all the services you would expect from your local GP including immunisations, prescriptions as well as some minor surgery and help for minor injuries. They are usually open from early morning until late at night and you do not need an appointment to be seen by an experienced nurse or GP. These centres offer a range of treatments, complementing the services provided by local GPs and hospitals.
Step 5: GP
Make an appointment with your own GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away. They provide medical and health advice, examinations, immunisations, prescriptions as well as clinics. There is an out-of-hours service available, where in an emergency a GP can visit your home. If you need this service, telephone your local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.
Mr Gough continued: “The 999 service is for life-threatening conditions and emergencies, such as choking, chest pain, stroke, serious blood loss or a state of unconsciousness.
“Using the ambulance service for its intended purpose (to tend to the critically ill and injured) increases the chance of a speedy response to those in genuine need. Only use 999 in a real emergency, where you believe life is at risk.
If you become ill or injured and need medical help or advice, follow the guidelines above to avoid the need to dial 999 and ‘Choose Well’ from other NHS services.”