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Understanding which NHS service to use with the help of your local Clinical Commissioning Group
20 November 2017

When we are feeling under the weather we all want to receive appropriate advice as soon as possible. By understanding which NHS service to use, and when to use it, we can help to make sure that the thousands of people feeling unwell this winter get the care they need, as swiftly as possible.

With pressures expected to rise during the cold winter months NHS organisations across Hampshire are urging people to use the most appropriate service for their care. However, with the number of services that are available choosing which one to use can be difficult, but your local CCGs are here to guide you.

Going to A&E or calling 999 should be reserved for when someone is seriously ill or severely injured, such as breathing difficulties or persistent and heavy bleeding.

If urgent medical help or information is needed, or an individual is unsure of what service they require, call NHS 111. It is a free service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The 111 service does not offer diagnosis over the phone; rather it advises and directs the individual to the appropriate service.

Or if your injury is not serious, you can visit a local minor injuries unit. There are three in the area covered by Fareham and Gosport, South Eastern Hampshire and Portsmouth CCGs; these are Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Petersfield Hospital Minor Injuries Unit or St Mary’s Treatment Centre who can also provide treatment for minor illnesses.

If your illness is not life threatening and you have been feeling unwell for a while it is likely that you need to visit your doctor.

Not all ailments require a GP appointment; pharmacists are an excellent source of help and are fully trained to give advice for a wide variety of symptoms. This means you don’t have to spend time waiting in GP practice where you could catch other bugs and illnesses.

As well as the pharmacist, the NHS Choices website can provide lots of useful information to relieve symptoms at home.

Dr Andrew Holden, a Petersfield GP and Representative at South Eastern Hampshire CCG said: “Supporting people to live healthy lives in the community is important to us and helping people to navigate the NHS is part of that responsibility. Our NHS workforce aims to serve people at the right place and at the right time. As the demand on the NHS increases throughout the winter months, we rely on people working together, and that of course includes the public.

“By choosing the right service, you might be seen quicker and you can help relieve some of the pressure on our frontline staff who can then dedicate their time to those more in need. There is some excellent self-help advice available on the NHS choices website, or for more minor injuries and illnesses, you can visit your local pharmacist or GP or call NHS 111 if you are unsure.”

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