Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

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Right treatment, right time, right place

With the busy winter period now underway, NHS leaders in Newcastle and Gateshead are reminding residents to think carefully about which services to use – and make sure you are prepared for those common ailments that can easily be treated at home.

The local doctors who lead NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are supporting the Stay Well This Winter campaign, which is aimed at people who are usually in good health and perhaps wake up one morning feeling under the weather and don’t know what to do.

By planning ahead with a well-stocked medicine cabinet, you can ensure you are ready for those seasonal sniffles, helping to keep valuable appointments with doctors and nurses open for those who really need them.

Dr Guy Pilkington, Chair of NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Demand for NHS services goes up during the winter months, so it’s crucial that services are available for people who need them most.

“Winter weather means more slips and trips – and generally more of us feeling unwell as we spend more time indoors and coughs, colds and other viruses are passed around.

“That adds up to more people wanting to see their GP, attend Accident and Emergency or call 999. But it’s important to stop and consider the best service for your needs.

“Most normally healthy people with a winter illness do not need to see their GP, attend A&E and absolutely do not need to call 999. Colds, sore throats, headaches, hangovers, upset stomachs, coughs, aches, pains, and winter vomiting should all be treated at home or with advice from a local pharmacist, with painkillers, rest and plenty of fluids.

“That way you are helping to reduce the spread of winter viruses and also keeping appointments available for people with serious health conditions who must see a doctor or nurse.”

Using the right NHS service for your needs

Your local NHS has a range of services to meet all your family’s healthcare needs – and you can get the right treatment first time, if you choose the right service.

“When one of the family is unwell, everyone’s first thought is to get the care they need, as quickly as possible, but it’s worth stopping to think for a moment, to make sure you choose the right service,” says Dr Pilkington.

“Your GP should be the first port of call for the majority of your family’s health needs. GP practices look after people’s health in their local community and deal with a whole range of health problems, as well as providing advice on health, smoking and diet, vaccinations and minor surgery.

“Local pharmacists are also highly trained and can give professional advice on a wide range of minor ailments without an appointment. Pharmacists study for five years to become fully trained, so they are expert in the use of medicines and fully qualified to diagnose and treat minor illnesses from aches and pains and allergies to colds, head lice and skin problems.

“If you urgently need medical help and your practice is closed, you can call NHS 111, who can signpost you to the right service. For emergencies, major accidents or life-threatening situations, 999 is the number to call.”