Here in the UK, our health service is struggling to cope with the number of people using it’s Accident and Emergency services. Every day, we hear stories in our press that hospitals are under immense strain and that our A&E departments cannot cope with the numbers. One of the reasons is that people are going to A&E instead of other options, such as self care or their GP. Here is our guide as to when the A&E should be called.
Self Care: A lot of common illnesses can be treated at home by using over-the-counter medicine and getting plenty of rest. It is worth keeping paracetamol or aspirin, anti-diarrhoea medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion remedy, plasters and a thermometer in your medicine cabinet.
Pharmacy: Your local pharmacist can give you friendly, expert advice about over-the-counter medicines that can help with lots of common conditions such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, a painful cough or a headache, without the need for an appointment.
GP: Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away, including persistent vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache. Get the treatment you need at a convenient time and place and reduce the demand on our emergency services.
111: When you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency, call the NHS free phone number 111. The 111 service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls to 111 will be assessed, advice given and, if needed, patients will be directed to the most appropriate local health services. Calls to 111 are free wherever you call from. Call 111 if:
- You need an NHS urgent care service
- You don’t know who to call for medical help
- You need information about a health issue
If it is an emergency and someone needs help to save their life, call 999.
999: A&E departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat people with serious and life threatening emergencies.