GETTING the right care in the right place over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays will ensure people are treated quickly by the most appropriate healthcare professional.
NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to make sure that local people choose well to get the help they need due to high levels of demand across all services especially over the festive bank holidays – 25, 27, 28 December and 3 January – and to know where to go for the most appropriate advice and treatment for their health need.
Anyone with a minor ailment should seek expert advice and care from their local pharmacy first. Several pharmacies in Tameside and Glossop will be open on the bank holidays and it is advised to check their opening times before travelling, as times may vary. Further information can be found at: https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/pharmacyservices
As qualified professionals, pharmacists are experts in medicines and can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as: a high temperature, minor eye problems, nasal congestion, coughs, sore throats, headaches, tummy trouble, aches and pains, eczema and other skin problems, or minor burns and injuries. People can speak to a pharmacist in confidence, in a private area, about the most personal symptoms.
The Greater Manchester crisis phone helplines provide support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to people of all ages, including children, who need urgent mental health support. Their crisis lines aim to help people who need urgent mental health support because they are experiencing emotional distress and are struggling to cope. They also take calls from family members, carers or anyone who is concerned that someone they know is experiencing a mental health crisis. Phone: 0800 014 9995 (freephone). More support can be found at: https://hub.gmhsc.org.uk/mental-health/covid-19-resources/.
Anyone with an urgent but not life-threatening condition that cannot be treated by a pharmacist should contact NHS 111 for advice, either online first at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NHS 111 will ensure patients get the right care in the right place and will book an appointment to be seen in an agreed time slot. This will help keep patients safe and reduce the time spent sitting in a waiting room.
NHS 111 can also offer appointments to be seen by a healthcare professional through the Primary Care Access Service (PCAS) at one of five neighbourhood hubs in Tameside and Glossop. This service combines those historically known as 7-Day Extended Access, GP out-of-hours and Alternative to Transfer.
People who need dental help or advice should contact their dental practice in the usual way, over the phone first, rather than in person. Anyone needing urgent dental care when their practice is closed, or who doesn’t have a usual dentist, can call the Greater Manchester dental helpline on: 0333 332 3800 or go online at: www.nhs.uk/servicesearch/find-a-dentist, available from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays.
If someone has a life-threatening illness or injury which might include: severe chest pain, a suspected heart attack or stroke, suspected meningitis, suspected broken bones, breathing difficulties, sudden and severe headaches, severe burns, or severe injuries that require hospital treatment, they should call 999 for an ambulance, or go straight to A&E.
Ambulances are for life-threatening emergencies. Calling 999 for an ambulance is not a fast route into A&E. People who attend A&E when their condition is not life-threatening may be referred elsewhere for treatment or be assisted to use NHS 111.
Anyone who takes regular medications is urged to make sure their prescription will last them over the bank holidays. A delivery service is provided by some pharmacies for residents who have no support. To reduce the demand and pressure on this service, anyone feeling unwell and self-isolating is encouraged to ask friends, relatives or neighbours to collect their medicines in the first instance.
Dr Asad Ali, co-chair at NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are lots of health problems that can be treated just by looking after yourself. Home is often the best place when you’re feeling unwell. Making sure you have over-the-counter products such as painkillers, antiseptics and plasters in your medicine cupboard means that if you or your family becomes unwell, you have something to help.
“Drinking plenty of water is a good way to help you get better if you are feeling unwell – avoid fizzy drinks and pure fruit juices. Eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and drinking lots of fluids may help protect you from a number of preventable illnesses. Getting plenty of rest can also help.
“Look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable – check they’re okay and not feeling isolated or unwell. Offer to help them with shopping etc if they’re isolating.
“Please do not to visit a pharmacy, GP or hospital if you have coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild. It is important to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when symptoms started and get tested immediately, within 5 days of being symptomatic. To book a test or order a home testing kit go online www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or telephone 119.”
Information on pharmacy opening times and how to access care can be found at: https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/accessingcare