“Please use the NHS considerately,” urge local NHS leaders as services remain busy

“Please use the NHS considerately,” urge local NHS leaders as services remain busy image

Home » “Please use the NHS considerately,” urge local NHS leaders as services remain busy

With health provision in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes still under intense pressure due to admissions and demand during the winter season, senior local doctors have repeated their call for residents to think carefully about using the right service for their level of need.

The Integrated Care Board has published some tips to help local people to access the right care, in the right place, at the right time, appropriate for their needs.

  • Use online services if you can, to help keep phone lines clear for those who don’t have online access.
  • Use your local pharmacy for advice and over-the-counter treatment.
  • Try calling the practice later in the day if you don’t need an urgent appointment, as it may be easier to get through.
  • If you make an appointment, please keep it, or cancel in good time if you no longer require it.
  • Get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated to reduce pressure on services from flu and other respiratory illnesses.

The NHS’s new Pharmacy First scheme, being introduced in the majority of community pharmacies across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes on 31 January, will enable pharmacists to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions without the need for patients to get a GP appointment or prescription.

The conditions covered by the new scheme are:

  • sinusitis;
  • sore throat;
  • earache;
  • infected insect bites;
  • impetigo;
  • shingles;
  • uncomplicated urinary tract infections (in women aged 65 and under).

Community pharmacies already play a vital role in keeping their local communities healthy and well, with over 200,000 people supported each month when they start new medicines.  Alongside expansions to pharmacy-based blood pressure checks and contraception services, the Pharmacy First option is expected to free up as many as 10 million general practice team appointments per year for other patients.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, deputy chief medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“The NHS is very busy at the moment, but we are here if you need us.

“Visiting 111 Online at 111.nhs.uk can save you time by directing you to the right service straight away, while also making sure that you don’t take up an appointment which somebody else needs more than you.

“Lots of people go to A&E with minor injuries or illnesses which could be treated more quickly and easily at home.  Your medicines box at home might contain things such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets which are good for headaches, colds, sore throats and painful bruises; calamine lotion to treat irritated skin; antiseptic for sores, cuts and grazes; plus items such as throat lozenges, indigestion remedies and something to treat diarrhoea or constipation.

“And now, if you have one of the seven conditions it covers, the new Pharmacy First scheme may mean you can get access to prescription-only medicines without seeing your doctor.

“By using services carefully, you’ll be helping NHS staff to make the best use of their time and resources, while reducing pressure on the busiest parts of the local health system.”

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