Supporting the NHS by using the right health serviceDate posted: 4th December 2023
With the NHS being much busier during the winter months, the public are being urged to ensure they’re using the right service for them.
GP practices have a range of different healthcare professionals who can support a variety of conditions, from nurses who can offer health checks, take blood samples and prescribe some medications to social prescribing workers who can connect patients to community-based support.
To access the different services available, the receptionist or health navigator will ask the patient a few questions about their condition and help book an appointment with the right health professional.
Dr Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which plans and buys health services for the region, said: “People often feel they need to see a doctor, but by seeing one of the many other healthcare professionals in a GP practice or a pharmacy they will get the best service for their need. By doing this it may be possible to be seen sooner than if they were to wait to see a doctor.”
GP practices also offer appointments in the evening and at weekends making it easier for patients to be seen at a time that suits them.
Most people with minor conditions will be best served by visiting a pharmacy as they have clinicians who are experts in a range of different medications and treatments.
Dr Dickinson added: "Utilising your local pharmacy is a great way to get treated for a minor condition quickly and you don’t need an appointment. Your GP practice might direct you to the pharmacy for a consultation which we would recommend people accept.
“To ensure health services don’t become overrun this winter, it is essential that people use the right service for their need. Primary care services are available, and we want to ensure people get the best service by knowing how to access them and where to find the right information.”
Unless someone has a life-threatening accident or becomes seriously unwell, it is unlikely they will need to go to A&E. However, the best place to get advice is online at www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.
For urgent dental treatment or advice, patients should contact their usual dental practice or the Lancashire and South Cumbria dental helpline on 0300 1234010 between 8am and 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm weekends and bank holidays.
For urgent dental support call 111.
To find further information on local health services visit www.healthierlsc.co.uk/winter.