Home Health How to access NHS services this Easter

How to access NHS services this Easter

by Guy Murphy

Knowsley residents are being urged to make sure that they know how to access urgent care if they need to over the Easter weekend, and to support the safe and timely discharge of loved ones who are ready to leave hospital.

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Deputy Medical Director, Dr Fiona Lemmens is urging people to use NHS 111 for all non-emergency healthcare needs.

“We want to remind people that our hospitals can often become very busy over a long bank holiday weekend, and to make NHS 111 their first point of call for all non-emergency healthcare treatment and advice. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 111 or online at: www.111.nhs.uk

“You should still call 999 or go to A&E in an emergency situation when someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life may be at risk. But if you need any other medical help and you’re not sure where to go, please use NHS 111 to get assessed and quickly directed to the right place for you.”

If needed, NHS 111 can also arrange a call back from a nurse, doctor, or paramedic or they can book you an appointment at a local pharmacy, urgent treatment centre, or hospital A&E department.

The NHS across Cheshire and Merseyside is also working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure that all patients who are fit enough to return home from hospital in time for Easter can do so safely.

Dr Fiona Lemmens adds, “We know that it’s much better for a patient’s physical health and mental wellbeing to leave hospital as soon as they can, once they are medically ready to go home. So if you have a family member who is being discharged, please work with hospital staff to make sure this happens as quickly as it possibly can. Not only is this better for them, but it also helps make that bed space available for the next patient who might need to be admitted.”

For advice and treatment for minor health concerns, people are also reminded to visit an NHS walk-in or urgent treatment centre, or to think about using the new ‘Pharmacy First’ service, which allows pharmacists to assess and treat patients for common conditions – without the need for a GP appointment or prescription first.

Simply drop in to your local pharmacy and ask for advice – but do remember to call ahead to check their bank holiday opening hours. You can search for your nearest pharmacy and find out their opening times at: www.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy

Parents and carers are also reminded that if your child is unwell, you can  visit the Alder Hey online symptom checker which includes helpful advice on how to treat your child at home, and when to seek further medical help at: www.alderhey.nhs.uk/conditions/symptoms-checker

More information about when to visit urgent treatment centres, when to call 999 and when to go to A&E is available via the national NHS website at: www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services

You can also watch Dr Sinead Clarke, Associate Medical Director for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside providing three tips for Easter Bank Holiday access to services here: https://youtu.be/G6xp9N2pTC8