This winter Buckinghamshire’s health and care services will be working hard to make sure you stay safe and well – and you can help them by using the right service at the right time.
You can find lots of advice and links to a range of local services at our ‘Ready for Winter’ information page, along with guidance on travel and how to be a good neighbour – www.yourcommunityyourcare.org.uk/ready-for-winter.
With coronavirus still spreading, some people may feel nervous or reluctant about using health services. It is vital, however, that they still seek care when they need it – delaying could have extremely serious consequences for their health.
The health and care options available in Bucks include:
- A&E – remember, A&E should be used for serious and life-threatening conditions. If it is not an emergency, or you are not sure, please check with the NHS 111 service first. But if it is, don’t delay – call 999.
- The 111 online service at 111.nhs.uk is a great source of information and advice, especially if you are not sure which service to use for your illness or injury.
- The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) in High Wycombe is accessible from 8am – 8pm via 111. Wherever possible ring 111 first to check if this is the best place for you to receive treatment, this will also save you a longer wait if you need to be seen there.
- Pharmacies are staffed by healthcare professionals and offer excellent advice. At the first sign of illness, check to see if an over-the-counter treatment or medicine is suitable. Don’t wait until you are really unwell.
- Contact your GP surgery for an appointment – this will probably be over the telephone or remotely at the moment, but your GP can still invite you for a face-to-face appointment when they think it is medically appropriate. And if you are concerned about possible cancer symptoms, don’t delay – contact your GP today.
- Self-care – many minor injuries or ailments can be treated at home, with medicines or treatments you may already have. Make sure you keep some of these in stock.
Caroline Capell, Director of Urgent and Emergency Care at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Health and care services across Bucks are expecting a busy winter, but we want to make sure anyone who needs help gets it. Our priority is to ensure patients get the best care, in the right location, as quickly as possible. The coronavirus pandemic is, understandably, still at the forefront of our minds but there are lots of other illnesses and conditions that need treatment and it is really important people don’t delay in getting help.
“By making sure you use the right service at the right time you will help to ease pressure on your health services to make sure the people who need treatment most urgently get it sooner. It may also help you to avoid needless waiting times or travelling to use a service that may not the right one. So, please choose your services well this winter. By working together, we can help to keep each other safe and well.”
And remember, if you should develop one or more symptoms of coronavirus, no matter how mild, please book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. Other advice on treatment of COVID-19 is also available at that website. Symptoms include a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.