Date: 17/12/2008 Category: Medway PCT
Dr Peter Green Medical Director of NHS Medway More people suffer from chest infections and other illnesses, such as winter vomiting disease, during the winter months than at any other time of the year. So it is not surprising that hospitals, especially A&E, and doctors’ surgeries can get busy. As a patient being ill can be unpleasant and at times frightening both for yourself and for people that may be caring for you, or for small children or elderly relatives. It is important that people get appropriate medical care but sometimes it is difficult to know how to get the best care. Here are some tips 1 If you have severe central chest pain, loss of consciousness, or think you or someone else may be having a heart attack or a stroke call 999. 2 If you have suffered a large cut and are bleeding or think you may have broken a bone then attending A&E may be your best choice. 3 If you are not sure where to go or what to do or want advice or re-assurance. a. Contact NHS Direct the 24hr national health line on 0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk b. Consult a pharmacist. Many pharmacists within Medway take part in a Minor Ailments Scheme and can both help diagnose minor ailments and treat them at the same time, without the need for an appointment c. Talk to your GP. Many GPs and practice nurses can give phone advice and have the advantage that they have access to your medical records. They can also arrange to see you if needed. d. During evenings and weekends when your own surgery may be shut, and you have a problem that will not wait until the next day, either contact NHS Direct (as above) or Medway On Call Care MedOCC 01634 891855 who can provide advice or arrange for you to be seen if necessary. Remember, most cases of coughs, colds, diarrhoea and sickness will get better on their own. If in doubt seek advice and follow the advice given. Almost always part of the advice will be what to do if you get worse or don’t start to feel better within a few days.