HEALTH professionals are appealing to people in Pendle to consider how they use National Health services.
NHS East Lancashire, alongside East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, wants to ensure people know about the range of services available, and also how to keep fit and well.
The winter always sees an increase in the number of people going to their GP, dialling 999 or turning up at the Emergency Department.
Senior doctors believe some of the pressure on NHS services could be eased if people were more aware of the range of alternatives for fast and effective advice and treatment, often without an appointment.
Every year a number of infectious viruses crop up, which on the whole could be treated by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Seasonal flu, coughs and colds and sickness and diarrhoea for most adults are unpleasant and inconvenient, but nothing more. Staying at home and self-treating until you are free from symptoms for 48 hours can prevent further spread of these viruses.
Pendle GP Dr Mike Ions, who leads East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s never been easier for people to get help with minor ailments from a very wide range of sources.
“NHS professionals working in the community can provide advice and treatment on literally hundreds of conditions. GPs are constantly increasing the range of services they offer.
“Local pharmacists, based in chemists’ shops, can diagnose and prescribe for a wide range of conditions, giving help on the spot. There are also a number of other services people can use for minor ailments and injuries, such as GP-led health centres.”
The service is calling on people to use NHS services sensibly and only use ambulances and emergency departments for emergencies, serious injuries and illnesses.
Patients can find out about what other services are available to them by going to www.eastlancspct.nhs.uk/patients/feeling-unwell/ or by calling 111 free from landlines and mobiles.
Dr Ions said: “If you are planning to visit friends and family out of the area, do the same for the area you are visiting.”
Another message is to remind people with underlying health conditions, who may be on medication, to make sure they order and collect their repeat prescriptions in plenty of time so they don’t run out over a weekend or a public holiday.