Feeling unwell? Choose the right healthcare
Simon Truelove, Acting Accountable Officer
In Wiltshire, there are numerous ways to get the right health care advice and treatment you need. But when you’re feeling unwell it’s not always easy to understand which service is the best for you to use.
Because it’s so confusing, people very often go straight to hospital or to a GP. But more times than not, that’s not the sort of treatment you need, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to consider the range of options available before attending A&E or booking a GP appointment if you think you need treatment.
We have a range of services to choose from so that you don’t need to have to go to hospital or see a GP.
Many illnesses or symptoms – such as coughs, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated yourself at home if you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet and if you get plenty of rest.
NHS 111 is a free-to-call telephone service you can ring when you need medical or dental help and advice quickly, but when it’s not an emergency. 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional, who is able to give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Most pharmacies have a quiet area or consultation room where you can have private conversations, and many are open during the evening and weekends.
If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.
A&E or 999
Accident and Emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service are to be used in serious or life-threatening situations. A&E provides immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or who are badly injured.
Dr Chet Sheth, GP at St Anne’s Street Practice in Salisbury, said: “We often see people in the surgery with colds and sore throats and, unless the patient is particularly young or old, they can often be treated by a local pharmacist with over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacists have a wealth of knowledge about a range of health issues and they’re experts in medicines – they can also help you to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor – or not – if you’re unsure.”
For sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns or minor eye injuries then one of Wiltshire’s two minor injury units, or the walk-in centre in Salisbury, will be able to help you. If you’re not sure about whether you need to go, then call the 111 service. They’ll talk through your symptoms with you and advise you on the most appropriate place to go for treatment. If you need urgent medical assistance for a serious or life threatening condition, then always telephone 999 straight away.”
When we’re able to make the right decision on the type of treatment we need, we not only help keep ourselves healthy, but we help to free up time to allow doctors and health care professionals to focus on those people who need their services the most.
That way we all ensure we make the best use of the money we receive for health care and treatment in Wiltshire. Treating people in, or as close to people’s homes as possible, is fundamental to providing NHS services which truly meet Wiltshire people’s needs.
Our community teams
We have community teams working right across our county. The nurses and healthcare professionals working in each team provide personal, seamless care for people living in our towns and villages, visiting patients in their own homes or at clinics in local buildings. Your GP will refer you to a community team if you need the sort of treatment they provide, without you having to go into hospital. Every team cares for a number of people across an area of Wiltshire, linking into groups of GP practices. Community team members have close relationships with other services, such as social care, mental health, domiciliary and voluntary services, to make sure that you get the right sort of care you need.
Our aim is for Wiltshire people to receive efficient, personal and joined up care which allows everyone to continue to live in their local community as long and as well as possible. With the increasing costs of medicines and treatments, and a national shortage of GPs and other health professionals working in the health sector, the NHS is facing one of its biggest ever challenges. But in Wiltshire, we’re carving the right path for patients, continuing to give people really good health care services and allowing you to have the right healthcare, for you, with you, near you.