It’s time for the late summer bank holiday. ‘Hurrah!’ say many of us, as we welcome a long weekend to enjoy doing something fun or relaxing. But what if there’s an unexpected health problem; do you know where to seek help and for which type of need? Cornwall’s NHS is making an important plea for everyone to ‘help us help you’ by choosing sensibly when it comes to selecting its services.
When you’re in need of help to look after health concerns there are a range of options. What’s important is to choose the best one for your need, so that people can get the right help in the right place at the right time.
Dr Andy Sant is managing director for North and East Cornwall integrated care area. He says
“Your NHS team wants to provide the best care possible and is working tirelessly to do this. I am a local GP, so I see first-hand the volume of needs from our patients, and the effects of ongoing pressures within our healthcare system. Everyone can play their part in making the most of our available resources; please do choose wisely.”
Emergency department and 999. These are for life-threatening conditions such as a suspected heart attack or stroke, and you should use them straight away when you need to. Please keep the emergency services for an emergency situation that is life-threatening, so that they’re available to those who truly need them.
Minor injury unit or the urgent treatment centre at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance. Visit one of these if you have a serious and sudden need. They are staffed by highly skilled nurses and clinicians, who can treat broken bones, animal and insect bites, cuts and injuries which may need stitching.
Some have X-ray facilities. You can see the opening hours and up-to-date waiting times on our website. Please be sure to call 111 before you go.
NHS 111 is available for you any time of the night or day, and can summon emergency help if needed. Just phone 111 or go to NHS 111 online. Trained advisors, with a clinician on hand, will direct you to the most appropriate care.
Your own GP is always the best when there is something worrying you about your health. So even if you are away from home you should contact your local surgery first.
Local pharmacies remain open for you over the bank holiday weekend. The find a pharmacy page on the national NHS website will show your nearest, along with the opening hours.
Pharmacists are highly trained and can help with a long list of minor ailments, including eye and skin conditions. They are a great port of call for advice, ranging from self-care remedies for you to use at home, to more complex concerns. A consultation can take place in a private room with no appointment needed.
You should remember to order any repeat medicines well ahead of a public holiday. But if you do run out for any reason, the local pharmacist can issue an emergency supply.
Medicine cabinet. Do not overlook the value of having your own well-stocked supply of first aid essentials. A basic kit with plasters, bandages, burn cream, bite cream, antihistamine, antiseptic, and paracetamol (including the liquid form for babies and children) is the fuss-free way to ease all sorts.
Mental health helpline. If you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call for free, 24 hours a day, on 0800 038 5300.
Says Dr Sant,
“Please make the most responsible choice when you need support with a health need, even when it’s not the most convenient option to suit you. Each person doing their bit in this way makes a vital difference to the overall picture. That means more people can get the right care in the right place at the right time.
“I’d ask everyone to remember these 3 things: only use the emergency department for life-saving matters; your own GP is the best even when you’re on holiday; and 111 is the only number you need for help round the clock whenever you’re in doubt.
“Thank you for helping us help you.”
Visit our ‘help us help you’ webpages to see details of all services, opening and waiting times. It’s worth noting that our social media pages have lots of health information and useful advice too. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.