This site will explain a bit more about how your NHS services are working at the moment. It’s so important to ‘THINK TWICE’ before deciding which NHS service to use – this is to help you make the right choice, as well as helping your NHS to deal with everything that winter brings.
The NHS needs your help and YOU are being asked to ‘BE THE DIFFERENCE’ by taking a minute to think about the type of care and support you really need for your health condition.
This is the busiest period on record for A&E and many people attending don’t need to be there. Waiting times to be seen by a doctor are often in excess of four hours.
Ongoing Covid cases could be reduced by getting vaccinated and where it’s possible to, some patients could easily get the help they need by using alternative services.
Greater Manchester’s Busiest A&E
In the last month over 12,000 patients have been to Bolton’s A&E for help. Sadly, with waiting times to be seen by a doctor regularly in excess of four hours.
THREE ADDITIONAL WARDS NEEDED
The Trust usually opens an extra ward during the winter months but three additional wards are currently open and have been since last winter.
MANY ATTENDING DON’T NEED TO BE THERE!
Around 15% of Bolton’s A&E attendances are people attending between 4pm and midnight, with many not requiring treatment or admitting to hospital.
LET’S AVOID UNNECESSARY DELAYS!
To support patients with minor ailments, people who continue to visit A&E when they don’t need to, will be redirected to the most appropriate services.
Accident & Emergency services are for serious and life-threatening situations only.
Reasons to go to A&E include:
Severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, bleeding you can’t stop, possible broken bones.
If you go to A&E with minor health problems then you are taking the place of someone who could really need it and will be redirected to the most appropriate service.
A&E is open 24 hours a day for people who need it but if your condition isn’t life-threatening or an emergency then think about talking to your GP.
If your complaint isn’t an emergency or life-threatening, think about talking to your GP
During winter, demand on GP services usually increases with flu, coughs and colds, other respiratory illnesses, sickness and diarrhoea...and Covid-19, all circulating at the same time.
Your local GP practice is working differently, but they are very much still here for you!
You can call your practice in the usual way. There may be a delay in getting through, but keep trying. Or fill out an Online Consult form via the website and you will receive a response within 48 hours.
You will receive a telephone assessment before any further action is taken.
Receptionists are trained to direct you to the most appropriate person and ensure those who need it most, get treated first. This could be with either a GP, advanced nurse practitioner, health care assistant, mental health specialist, practice nurse, paramedic or musculoskeletal practitioner (MSK).
Remember, some patients can be treated effectively over the phone or by video consultation but if your practice needs to see you, they will give you an in-person appointment.
Priority for those in most need
Practices have to prioritise appointments for those who need them most. Before you get in touch with your GP, think - is there something you could do first?
Patients are frustrated
Phone lines are busy, demand for face-to-face appointments, and patients don’t want to wait for an appointment.
Pharmacies can help with minor illnesses
Most are within a 20 minute walk and open in the evening and at weekend. You don’t need an appointment!
Well-stocked medicine cabinet
Having some common painkillers, cold remedies, antihistamines and medicine for an upset stomach can ensure you have minor illnesses covered. If symptoms don’t clear up after a few days then seek further help.
GP: feverish children, persistent pain, i.e. earache
Your GP practice is open for routine and urgent appointments (children under 12 will be assessed on the same day). AND - don’t forget - your GP has access to your medical records.
GP Services Out of Hours: urgent health problems at evenings and weekends
The GP out of hours service is there to help with urgent health problems that will not wait until your GP practice is next open. Call your GP practice as normal for this service.
Pharmacists are highly skilled and easily accessible. Think about talking to them instead of your GP!
With a bit of planning there are lots of things you can do to look after yourself at home.
Your local pharmacist is there to help with a range of minor conditions, give advice on medication and prescriptions, and help you choose the right NHS service if it’s something they can’t treat.
Many pharmacies are open in the evening and at weekends, and often have a private consultation room if you wish to discuss things discreetly. You don’t even need an appointment!
A well-stocked medicine cabinet at home should include: simple painkillers, like paracetamol and ibuprofen; stomach and indigestion remedies; antihistamines; a selection of bandages and plasters for minor cuts and sprains; antiseptic; tweezers and small scissors; and a thermometer.
Sickness and diarrhoea, and the common cold are highly infectious so the best advice is to stay at home, get plenty of rest and drink water to keep hydrated. If you’re suffering with a headache, blocked nose or stomach cramps, then painkillers can help to ease your symptoms.
Look after your mental health
There’s lots of support online. Keep connected to friends and family, and talk about how you’re feeling.
What you eat and drink can affect your health
Cut down on alcohol, sugary drinks and food high in saturated fat. Your pharmacist can help with stopping smoking.
Take some form of daily exercise
Even a walk around the block can help with your physical and mental health.
Pharmacists are highly trained professionals
They can help you get the most out of your current medication and give advice on managing a long-term condition.
Self-care: hangover, minor bruises, coughs and colds
Lots of minor illnesses can be treated effectively at home. Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet to help to relieve any minor symptoms.
NHS 111: if you have a medical problem but are unsure about where to go, call 111 or go online to www.111.nhs.uk
Free confidential calls to both landlines and mobiles. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with trained call handlers and nurses on site to offer support.
Pharmacy: diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches, tummy upsets, insect bites and coughs
Many medicines are available at a pharmacy without a prescription and lots of Bolton pharmacies are open in the evenings and at weekends.
Many minor illnesses can be effectively treated at home. Think about keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet!