DOCTORS from North Manchester General Hospital are encouraging people to think carefully and to consider which health service to use this winter.
By choosing the right service, patients will get the best treatment in the shortest possible time, whilst keeping emergency health services available for emergencies and life-threatening conditions.
Services available in the community include GP practices, local pharmacies, dentists, health visitors, community nurses and midwives. North Manchester General Hospital’s A&E department is also available to treat the sickest of patients, such as those seriously injured in an accident.
A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
There are lots of resources, including symptom checkers, available to help the public decide what service is the best one to treat them. These include the Choose Well website, NHS Choices website, and the NHS 111 telephone advice service, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls to the service are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Pharmacists can also offer advice and over the counter remedies for many common winter illnesses and local people are being reminded to stock up their cupboards with medicines ready for the winter and holiday period. Patients who require repeat prescriptions are also asked to think ahead and get hold of the required amount before local GPs close for Christmas. Traditionally the winter months see an increase in coughs, colds and flu symptoms.
Along with other hospitals nationally North Manchester General Hospital is seeing extremely high numbers of patients presenting at its A&E department, many of whom are requiring hospital admission and need medical care and treatment.
Prof Matt Makin, Medical Director at North Manchester Care Organisation said:
“I would encourage people with minor illnesses such as colds and flu to use the NHS services available in the community and to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. As colds and flu are caused by viruses, antibiotics will not help get rid of them. These are fairly self-limiting illnesses and those affected may feel unwell for a few days.
“We welcome people to come to A&E if they are extremely unwell and need urgent medical attention and in a genuine emergency we will provide the best possible care to those patients. However, we want the public to think carefully and choose the right service for their condition, which may well be in the community at their GP surgery or local pharmacy.”
Patients are urged to consider the full range of NHS services available to them. Advice about self care and details of local health services are available via the NHS Choices website or by calling the NHS 111 service. By choosing and using the right services, patients can expect to be seen or treated more quickly, whilst keeping emergency services free for those patients who need them most.
Pictured: Prof Matt Makin, Medical Director at the North Manchester Care Organisation