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Choose well over Christmas
5:27pm Wednesday 28th December 2011 in Your Bucks
Whether it’s accidentally burning yourself getting the turkey out of the oven or tripping over some loose wrapping paper, people who need medical treatment over the festive period are being urged to Choose well.
Every year at Christmas time, many people in Buckinghamshire visit Stoke Mandeville Hospital Accident and Emergency department (A&E) or Wycombe Emergency Medical Centre, with minor injuries that could be more appropriately treated by an alternative NHS service, such as their GP or even their local pharmacy.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals, is urging people to carefully consider the most appropriate place to seek medical treatment for a health problem over the seasonal period.
Additionally, the Trust often sees a sharp rise in the number of patients at A&E during early January as people delay seeing their doctor or going to a treatment centre because they want to enjoy the festive period.
Therefore NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust encourage people to contact their GP early, visit a pharmacy or call NHS Direct, as soon as they start feeling unwell or ill.
Graz Luzzi, medical director at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said: “The last thing we want to do is to stop anyone who really needs to go to A&E from attending. It is for emergencies such as loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, serious accidents and severe bleeding.
“In the new year we are expecting an increase in the number of people who are unwell coming to A&E; however we know that some of these patients could have been treated sooner if they had gone to see their doctor, or visited a pharmacy for advice and over the counter medication.
“We would like to urge anyone who needs medical treatment during the holidays to choose well and think about where the most appropriate place to receive treatment is. This means you should be seen quicker and receive the most effective care for your condition. So this week, along with your cranberry sauce and crackers, why not check your medicine box at home, and top up on first-aid supplies to ensure that any possible Christmas mishaps are covered for. This includes plasters and bandages for cuts and sprains, paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief, anti-histamines for allergic reactions and cold and flu remedies to help with any cold like symptoms.
Choose well: What services are available and when to use them NHS Direct - advice is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 0845 46 47 or visiting www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk. NHS Direct provides free expert health advice and information and is run by qualified nurses.
Pharmacies – your community pharmacists are qualified experts who can give confidential advice on common minor illnesses like coughs and colds, headaches or cystitis, as well as medicines and emergency contraception.
GP surgery - if the options above are not appropriate to your condition, you can call your surgery for an appointment with your GP or practice nurse. Your GP can help with vaccinations, prescriptions, medical advice and care. To find your local GP call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Out of hours GP service - if you have an urgent problem which can’t wait until your doctor’s surgery reopens call the out of hours GP service on: 0300 130 3035.
Emergency Medical Centre at Wycombe Hospital treats a wide range of adult medical problems (including chest pain, breathing difficulties and overdoses). It can also treat children and adults with minor injuries such as suspected fractures, scalds and minor burns.
Emergency Medical Centre, Wycombe Hospital. Open 24 hours a day, every day, telephone (01494) 425438.
Accident & Emergency at Stoke Mandeville Hospital – should be attended if a patient experiences chest pain, blacking out and severe blood loss. A&E is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In an emergency dial 999.
Based on information supplied by Richard Burton.