Choose the right service

By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah

22/7/21

Most Covid-19 restrictions may have been lifted, but that doesn’t mean the virus has gone away – or the pressures faced by the NHS as a result.

It has been an unprecedented 16 months for the NHS and I’d like to thank everyone for their support and understanding during this time.

But we still need your help as GP and A&E services are very busy at the moment.

There are various reasons for this.

Understandably, people may have been hesitant about contacting their GP or attending health appointments earlier in the pandemic. As a result, minor problems may have become more serious over a period of time.

Against a backdrop of coronavirus, some people have also become more anxious about their health. They may be more likely to contact their GP immediately about minor health concerns or even visit A&E, rather than waiting a couple of days to see if things improve or seeking the advice of a pharmacist.

GPs are also holding more online and telephone consultations than ever – which help to protect patients and staff by reducing crowded waiting rooms.

These consultations are convenient for many people, particularly those who are working or have child-care responsibilities, and don’t have time to visit their GP surgery. But again, many minor health conditions can be treated at home without speaking to your GP.

Please be assured that although your GP is working differently, they are still working hard. They are still here for you and face-to-face appointments are available where needed.

A&E is also there for you but only if you have a serious injury or a life-threating condition.

We are working hard to restore services and reduce waiting lists and you can help by choosing the right service at the right time.

Many minor illnesses and conditions can be treated at home so keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

Remember, pharmacists are trained professionals who can offer advice on common illnesses and the medicines to treat them. Many medicines are available at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

NHS 111 can help if you have a medical problem and you're not sure what to do.

And one of the most important things you can do is to get BOTH doses of the Covid-19 jab. This will greatly reduce your chances of catching Covid or becoming seriously unwell if you do get the virus.

It also reduces the chance of passing Covid on to those around you – protecting your family, friends, colleagues, the community and, ultimately, the NHS.

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