DOCTORS and nurses from Rochdale Infirmary are asking people to think carefully and to consider which health service to use this winter as the number of people attending the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) is increasing significantly due to the cold weather and many people could instead self-care or get advice from their local pharmacy.
By choosing the right service, patients will get the best treatment in the shortest possible time, whilst keeping the Urgent Care Centre and neighbouring A&E departments free to treat patients with the most serious conditions who need urgent care.
Rochdale Infirmary’s 24/7 UCC is available to treat patients with a minor injury or illness or an urgent but less serious emergency. On Thursday 28 December there were 138 attendances at the UCC at Rochdale Infirmary.
People with cold and flu-like symptoms should use the services available in the community including local pharmacies. A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
Gillian Fogarty, Lead Nurse at Rochdale Infirmary Urgent Care Centre said:
“Recently we have seen an increase in the number of patients coming to our Urgent Care Centre with coughs, colds, sore throats and other flu-like symptoms. Yesterday we saw 19 patients with coughs and colds who do not need a doctor or nurse to treat them. We don’t want your time to be wasted waiting here in the Infirmary unnecessarily. Most of the time these patients don’t require any sort of medical intervention other than to be given advice about self-care, taking on fluids, and using simple cold and flu remedies like paracetamol. I would like to ask people to think carefully about whether they really do need to attend our Urgent Care Centre. A good alternative would be to get advice from a local pharmacy or to call the NHS 111 helpline.”
Pharmacists can 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 over winter.
There are also 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.