If you or a member of your family experience a minor injury or illness during the February half term don’t spend your time waiting in the emergency department - there are lots of different ways that you can access advice, support and treatments from the NHS.
Here are some treatment options if you or a family member becomes ill:
- Self-care: Having a few basic items in your bathroom medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill. Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, and antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets. If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP.
- Repeat medication: If you or someone you care for requires repeat medication, make sure you have ordered and collected any prescriptions to ensure you have medicine during the half term break. Contact your GP practice as soon as possible to organise prescriptions.
- Visit your local pharmacist: You can speak to your pharmacist for confidential expert advice and over-the-counter treatments for a wide range of common illnesses and complaints, such as stomach upsets, allergies, minor cuts, nappy rash, skin conditions and coughs and colds.
They can also arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don’t have to use the out of hours’ service or the emergency department. This service is also available for anyone who’s on holiday or visiting family. You can find your nearest pharmacy by visiting kernowccg.nhs.uk/choosewell or checking the NHS England website.
- NHS 111: The NHS 111 service can put you in contact with the GP out-of-hours service, which can arrange for you to see a healthcare professional during evenings and weekends.
If you need help fast but your health problem isn’t life threatening, the 111 service can help. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones. It includes a full range of local health services, including doctors, community nurses, emergency dental care and late opening chemists. NHS 111 is also online at 111.nhs.uk.
- Minor injury unit: If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than go to the emergency department. By doing so you allow emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations. Access waiting times by visiting kernowccg.nhs.uk/choosewell
Minor injury units are based at:
- Bodmin Community Hospital
- Camborne Redruth Community Hospital
- Falmouth Community Hospital
- Launceston Community Hospital
- Liskeard Community Hospital
- Newquay Community Hospital
- St Austell Community Hospital
- St Mary’s Community Hospital
- Stratton Community Hospital, Bude
- Urgent treatment centre: The urgent treatment centre at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance is open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for anyone needing urgent medical care for injuries and conditions such as fractures, deep cuts, non-life threatening head injuries and minor falls. You will be seen by a doctor from 9am to 10pm and an experienced nurse overnight. X-ray is available from 8am to 11pm.
- Emergency department or 999: Only use the emergency department or the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or has become unconscious telephone 999 immediately.
- Online waiting time service: If you do need to visit the emergency department, a minor injury unit or urgent care centre, you can see how long you may have to wait by using the online waiting time service, which shows the longest wait, how many people are waiting to be seen and how many people are in the department. It also includes opening times and x-ray availability. Visit kernowccg.nhs.uk/choosewell
Dr Chorlton, Chair of NHS Kernow, said: “Once again we’re appealing to anyone who needs help to use the right service and keep the emergency department free for urgent and life-threatening care only.
"The emergency department is not the right place to treat sporting sprains and strains, minor fractures, broken bones, upset stomachs, insect bites and cuts. Please visit a minor injury unit or our urgent treatment centre in Penzance for treatment.
“If you or a family member falls ill or has an accident, help yourself and the NHS by getting the right treatment for your level of illness or injury
“If you have a minor illness or ailment then visit your local pharmacist. They can help with expert advice and over-the-counter remedies. If you need urgent medical advice but it is not a life threatening emergency, call NHS 111. Their call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to getting you and out-of-hour’s doctor.”
Visit kernowccg.nhs.uk/choosewell for details of all services, opening and waiting times, including for the east of the county, and contact details.