A Stoke GP practice is taking the opportunity of National Self Care Week (November 16-22) to urge people to get the best from their local NHS by knowing when and how to care for themselves.
Lisa O’Reilly is Service Manager at Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre in Stafford Street, which is run on behalf of the local NHS by Care UK. She said: “It is important to make the most of the range of NHS services available to you and choose the right health service for your health needs. There might even be something you can do for yourself first, especially when it comes to minor ailments or injuries such as, colic, flu, sprains or strains.
“The NHS Constitution, which is the NHS handbook, says ‘please recognise you can make a significant contribution to your own and your family’s good health and wellbeing and take responsibility for it.’ It is important, therefore, that people understand what they can first do for themselves before accessing health services.
“Most people are very capable of looking after themselves most of the time, self-treating when it’s safe and knowing where and when to seek help when they need it. However, there are 3.7m visits made annually to A&E for self-treatable conditions such as flu, colic and sprains which adds to pressure in the health system.
“Before you visit A&E, remember what it’s there for. It provides vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.
“If you have a cold, flu or sore throat, ask yourself, do I want to spend four hours in A&E or should I call NHS 111, look-up NHS Choices or could I ask the pharmacist first. If you have symptoms such as diarrhoea, runny nose, painful cough or a headache, it is worth visiting your local pharmacy for some advice. If you are suffering from such things as a sore throat, mild cough, grazed knee or hangover, you should be more than capable of managing these yourself.
“By only visiting your GP or A&E department if it is urgent, you will ensure the local NHS works more efficiently for everyone’s benefit. If in doubt, call NHS 111.”
The Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre is open 8am-8pm, 365 days a year for walk-in patients. These extended hours have also made it a very popular choice with patients who have chosen it as their registered GP surgery. Further information about registering as a patient with the Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre can be obtained on 0300 123 6759.