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These days, you have more choice than ever before about the way that you receive healthcare and information from the NHS. The NHS offers you a wide range of services that can save you time and help you to get the right treatment.
As well as the services provided by your local GP surgery, or health centre, there are a range of other options, such as calling NHS Direct, visiting a walk-in centre, or asking your local pharmacist for advice.
To find your local NHS service log on to Find Your Local
NHS Direct is a 24-hour service that offers advice about what to do if you are feeling unwell. As well as phoning the telephone service (0845 4647), you can access health information and advice by logging onto the website, or by using NHS Direct Interactive, on digital satellite TV. You can also find health information on Freeview at page 108.
The NHS Direct telephone service offers confidential health advice and information 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. NHS Direct has also become the first point of contact for patients seeking medical help outside normal GP surgery hours.
Pharmacists are qualified to give free health advice and help with everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about choosing the right medicine and help you to decide whether or not you need to see your GP.
Pharmacy opening times over May Bank Holiday 2012
You can make an appointment with your GP for general medical treatments, such as injections , prescriptions, or blood tests. GPs work with a range of healthcare professionals including nurses, health care visitors, mental health nurses, midwives and practice nurses. They will be able to help you should you require healthcare.
GP surgeries are particularly busy during the winter months, so make sure that you keep to your appointment time, and cancel it if you are unable to attend. Missed appointments waste precious GP time and resources.
Here in South Gloucestershire, nearly every GP surgery is now open for longer, either in the evenings or weekends. Find out more in Find Your Local
NHS walk-in centres
Experienced NHS nurses at NHS walk-in centres provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. They can also give you advice about what to do about non-urgent conditions. They are usually open from early morning to late evening, seven days a week and you do not have to make an appointment.
Minor Injury Units (MIUs)
Minor injury units (MIUs) usually treat less serious injuries, like cuts, sprains, and minor burns in those who are over 12 years of age. If you are not sure whether your injury is minor and can be treated at a MIU, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. They will be able to give you advice, and tell you where your nearest unit is.
Accident and Emergency (A&E)
You should go to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department if you need emergency care for a serious injury, or illness - for example, if you are experiencing breathing difficulties, blood loss, or if you suspect that you have a broken bone. A&E departments are usually open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In an emergency you should dial 999 to ask for an ambulance.
Unless you need emergency medical attention, it is best not to go to your local A&E. A&E doctors and nurses are equipped to deal with serious medical cases, not routine and minor ailments.
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Fri, 22 Feb 2013
Fri, 22 Feb 2013