As we all know, at this time of year the health service can come under extra pressure.
That’s why it’s really helpful for us Islanders to all know exactly where to go and who to seek help from if we’re felling unwell or have an medical emergency.
To help you understand who to make the right choices, Isle of Wight NHS have set out a helpful guide to knowing which services to use and when.
If we all do our bit to ensure we’re seeking the right services at the right time, it’ll help avoid unnecessary delays.
Caring for yourself
The very first way we can help is by treating ourselves at home for the everyday illnesses and injuries such as coughs and colds; minor burns; diarrhoea and vomiting; cuts and grazes; sprains and minor infections.
Why not talk to your pharmacist about the kinds of medicines you should have in your home medicine cabinet to help you get through the winter months.
There is also lots of helpful advice and information online including www.nhs.uk for a wide range of health information and advice and www.what0-18.nhs.uk – for common childhood illnesses.
You can also visit Isle Help – For local advice, information and guidance www.islehelp.me and Isle Find it – A local directory of services to help you access the information, help and support you need www.islefindit.org.uk.
Your local pharmacy
Your local pharmacist is highly trained and can offer expert advice and information on many common and minor ailments and can offer you a confidential area to talk about your symptoms.
During the winter months you can also get your flu vaccination at your local pharmacist to help protect you and your family from the flu virus.
Your GP practice can help with any non-emergency problems.
They offer appointments with a doctor or a nurse practitioner for assessments, advice and treatment, for almost any illness or injury that hasn’t gone away through self-care and can provide prescriptions and referrals to other health and care services.
For urgent, but non-life-threatening situations, health information and advice.
If you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency call 111. Or if you don’t know who to call for help or need some urgent health information or reassurance about what to do next call 111.
A team of experienced call handlers, based at St Mary’s hospital and supported by paramedics and nurses, will assess your symptoms, give you advice and put you in touch straight away to the people that can help you best. That might be an out-of-hours doctor, emergency dentist, district nurse, late night pharmacist.
Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
Mental health support
One in four people experience emotional health and wellbeing difficulties. To access mental health support, for adults or children, speak to your GP practice. You can also contact:
- Mental Health Crisis Advice: 01983 522214
- Community Safe Haven: 03300 083888 or visit Quay House, Newport during opening hours 5pm-10pm Monday-Friday and 10am-10pm Weekends and bank holidays.
999 – in an emergency
In an emergency dial 999. The emergency department (A&E) is for serious, life-threatening injuries and illnesses that need urgent medical attention.
These include things like loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, severe chest pains or breathing difficulty, serious burns, strokes and persistent fits.
Please think before you dial 999 or attend the A&E department. If ambulance crews or hospital staff are called out to or have to deal with those suffering minor illnesses, they cannot get to those who really need their help. For minor illnesses, dial 111.
Plus, look out for copies of the NHS advice cards (pictured below) which also contain this information in a handy pocket-sized guide.
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