• Make the right choice to stay well and keep A&E free for emergencies this bank holiday

    Doctors in Devon have issued useful advice on staying well over the bank holiday weekend as well as guidance on choosing the right service if you need professional healthcare.

    GP surgeries will be closed on bank holiday Monday [May 29] but there is a wide range of services available which provide fast and effective health advice and treatment, from minor injuries to serious conditions.

    Dr Simon Kerr, a GP in Ottery St Mary and chair of the eastern locality of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group [NHS NEW Devon CCG], said: “It’s the time of year when we enjoy getting out and about, gardening and catching up with jobs on the house, and no matter how careful we are, accidents can happen.

    “If it’s serious or life-threatening, the right thing to do is dial 999 for an ambulance or head to accident and emergency. But if it isn’t serious, choose one of the other options available. They are there to provide the best advice and treatment quickly, and keep waiting times down in busy hospital departments.

    “Minor injuries units and pharmacies will be open and are the right – and quickest - choice for advice and treatment for most non-emergencies. If you don’t know which service to choose, just dial the 24-hour NHS helpline on 111 and the trained staff will help.”

    Healthcare options this bank holiday

    • NHS 111 – if you are unsure about which service you need, call 111. It is available 24 hours a day, and trained staff will advise and guide you to the right service.
    • Minor Injuries Units are an alternative to attending accident and emergency when an injury is not considered life-threatening, but still requires urgent treatment. You don’t need an appointment. They are run by nurse practitioners who can treat things like cuts, small burns or scalds, bites and stings, sprains and certain fractures, minor head injuries and foreign bodies in eyes. Find your nearest MIU and its opening times here [http://www.nhs.uk/service-search/Minor-injuries-unit/LocationSearch/551]
    • Pharmacists can offer quick, early advice to patients who feel under the weather and they can now provide some medicines usually only available on prescription. Many have private consulting rooms too. Find your nearest pharmacy and check opening times here [http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Pharmacy/Pages/Medicinesoutofhours.aspx].
    • If you take regular medication, make sure you have enough to cover the long weekend and request repeat prescriptions in good time if necessary
    • Stock the medicine cabinet with over-the-counter remedies for ailments such as headaches, stomach upsets, cuts, grazes and stings and indigestion, including remedies for children.
    • If you have children, download the HANDi Paediatric app for guidance on how to treat them.
    • Check out NHS Choices at http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx for advice on symptoms, treatments and where to get help.

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