‘Know Who to Turn to’ call from NHS

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NHS Tayside has issued advice to members of the public about where to get the right treatment ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

GP surgeries in Tayside will be closed for three days over the bank holiday weekend from Saturday, May 28 to Monday, May 30, and as part of their ‘Know Who to Turn To’ campaign, NHS Tayside is encouraging people to select the health service that best suits their needs.

Over holiday periods, when GP surgeries are closed, the out-of-hours service and A&E departments see a significant increase in attendances, some of which could be dealt with elsewhere for example a community pharmacist or local Minor Injury & Illness Unit.

NHS Tayside sites distribute credit card sized information cards with important contact information for our services.

Know Who To Turn To launched in December as part of NHS Tayside’s ‘Value Your NHS’ campaign which aims to encourage patients, carers, staff and the general public to make the best use of the services we provide to ensure we can continue to deliver person-centred, safe and effective treatment and care into the future.

Consultant in Accident and Emergency Dr Shobhan Thakore said: “At peak times and especially over holiday periods, A&E can be very busy. We need to make sure that we are able to see people quickly if they need emergency care. There are many alternatives to A&E and going directly to the person with the most appropriate skills is important. This can help you to a quicker recovery and ensures that all NHS Tayside services are run efficiently.”

The out-of-hours service takes over patient care when GP surgeries are closed. It is for patients who become ill during the out-of-hours period and who cannot wait until their GP surgery opens. Dedicated teams of GPs, nurses, administration staff and drivers ensure that the service delivers safe and effective care to patients across Tayside.

The Tayside out-of-hours service is open from 6pm until 8am each weekday and 24 hours at weekends and public holidays. The service is by appointment only and can be accessed by calling NHS 24 on 111.

Dr Jane Bruce, clinical director of the Out-of-Hours Service, said: “Public holiday periods are extremely busy times for Tayside’s Out-of-Hours Service and the teams in each locality, with support from colleagues across NHS Tayside, work very hard to cope with the huge challenges of dealing with an exceptionally high volume of sick patients.

“If you have a problem which cannot wait until GP surgeries reopen, you should contact NHS 24 on 111 and, if you need to be seen, an appointment or a home visit will be arranged. However, with some minor illnesses and injuries, it is not always necessary to see a doctor or nurse and you can get helpful advice from your local community pharmacist to care for yourself at home.

“By ensuring that you access the right service for treatment, you can help us to focus on emergencies and problems that cannot wait until after the holiday period.”

Top tips for the right treatment:

· When your GP surgery is closed, and you’re too ill to wait until it re-opens, you can access appropriate out-of-hours services (including a nurse or GP) through NHS 24.

· Your local Primary Care Emergency Centre out-of-hours service works with NHS 24 to make sure that urgent medical advice and care is always available to you.

· If you live in a rural area and have a minor illness like flu or earache or a cut, minor burn or sprain, NHS 24 may direct you to your local Minor Injury & Illness Unit.

· Your local pharmacist can provide a whole range of services including free advice, support and guidance on all your health problems. You can find a list of pharmacies open on the public holiday on our website at www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk or by contacting NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.

· Avoid a crisis, be prepared and get essentials now. Ensure you have ordered your regular medicines from your own GP surgery. A pharmacist can also advise you on a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

· You can find a list of our hospitals and information on our website at www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk.

· Find about your local health services and get health advice online at www.nhsinform.co.uk.