DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill
GPs in South Lincolnshire are reminding parents to be aware of the full range of NHS services available to them when their children become ill – to make sure they can choose the best one for their needs.
It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do for the best when a child comes down with an illness or suffers an injury, but there are a number of different options available from the NHS to suit different circumstances.
By being fully aware of their choices and when to use them, parents can ensure their children will receive the best advice or treatment for a variety of symptoms and conditions.
Every parent wants to know that their child will receive the very best care that’s available when they become ill or hurt themselves – but they may not be aware of the variety of NHS services that are available to help them in times of need.
Your local pharmacist, for example, can offer advice for a range of minor illnesses which are best taken care of at home – including the coughs, colds and sore throats which are particularly common at this time of year.
Alternatively, if you have a problem while your GP or pharmacist is closed you can call 111, the NHS’s non-emergency number which is available 24 hours a day and free to call from mobiles and landlines. Here you can talk to a highly-trained adviser who will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for your needs.
For other minor injuries or illnesses that won’t wait until your GP surgery is open, visit your local walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre. For general health care advice, you can access a wealth of information and resources online at www.nhs.uk
To make sure they can choose wisely when they need help for their child, parents are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these NHS services.
Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. The service is available 24 hours a day and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. You can also call NHS 111 if you’re not sure which NHS service you need.
Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it won’t wait until your GP surgery is open. Visit www.nhs.uk and type in your postcode or town to find your nearest urgent care facility.
Ask your local pharmacist for advice on common minor illnesses such as diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, travel advice or sore throats.
See your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.
Only visit A&E for life-threatening emergencies.
For more information on choosing the right NHS service visit www.nhs.uk/staywellthiswinter.