NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Teaching Primary Care Trust and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust are asking people to make sure they are choosing the right service and are not automatically coming to A&E for health problems that could be dealt with by other services.
The A&E department at Northampton General Hospital is currently seeing a big increase in the number of people attending. To help them manage the increased demand and ensure that seriously ill patients can be treated immediately, the department is asking patients who have common health problems to seek treatment from their GP, local pharmacy or minor illness unit, rather than from A&E.
GP surgeries in Northampton offer same-day appointments for people who need to see a doctor or practice nurse urgently. And at evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays, the out-of-hours GP service NorMed provides advice and treatment for problems that cannot wait until surgeries are next open.
Most GP practices offer services to treat minor injuries and illnesses. Northampton’s minor illness centre, which is currently based at the Weston Favell Primary Care Centre on Billing Brook Road, is another way for patients to access fast, convenient NHS treatment.
The centre is open from 11am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday and provides treatment for minor injuries and everyday illnesses such as stomach upsets, colds, flu, ear infections and rashes. The service also provides emergency contraception. Patients do not have to be registered with a local doctor to use these services.
Patients do not need to see a doctor or nurse for every health problem. Common minor illnesses, such as coughs and colds, can be treated easily at home with over-the-counter remedies that can be bought from any high-street pharmacy.
Local pharmacies are highly accessible one-stop shops where people can get advice and treatment for everyday health problems without an appointment. They also sell everything patients need for their home medicine chest to deal with common minor illnesses and injuries.
Expert advice on what to do if you or your family are feeling unwell is also available 24 hours a day from NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 and from the NHS Direct website at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Northampton General Hospital's A&E department is for serious illnesses, critical injuries or sudden collapse, including suspected heart attack, suspected stroke, chest pain, unconsciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, severe breathing difficulties, head injuries, and deep wounds.
Posted on Sunday 2nd April 2006