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Help us help you this summer

Local people and holiday-makers enjoying a summer break on the east coast are being urged to look after their own health while making the most of the skills of their pharmacist through a new campaign designed to ease the pressure on GPs and A&E departments.

NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched the “Guide to your local NHS” awareness campaign to encourage people to go to the right place if they need help with their health. Its aim is to keep GP appointments and A&E free for those in the greatest need while also helping NHS resources to go further.

The campaign’s key messages are:

1. Pharmacists can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints, and you won’t need to wait for a GP appointment.
2. NHS 111 is the number to call when you need medical help or advice urgently but it is not a life-threatening situation.
3. If you’ve forgotten your medicine, visit a pharmacist who can arrange for it to be sent to the pharmacy you’re at.
4. Please remember A&E is for limb and life threatening emergencies only.
5. To find a local pharmacy or GP surgery, visit NHS Choices online at www.nhs.uk or call 0300 311 22 33.
6. If you have an appointment at a local GP surgery, be open to be seen by a variety of specialists including healthcare assistants, nurses, clinical physicians and physios.
7. Self-care is about looking after yourself. If you’re a visitor, most hotels and holiday parks have a first aid kit and some basic medication available. If you’re at home, keep your medicine cabinet well stocked with items such as painkillers, antiseptic and plasters.

As part of the campaign, posters will be displayed in GP surgeries, pharmacies, holiday camps, bus shelters and along the seafronts in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Lowestoft, while adverts will also appear on buses. A short film starring comedian Dom Joly, which was created by NHS Brighton and Hove CCG, will also be promoted via social media and in GP surgeries, with the campaign using the hashtag #GYWGuidetolocalNHS. You can view it here.

Dr Myles Duffield, a retained GP based at Park Surgery in Great Yarmouth and the CCG’s lead for urgent and emergency care, said: “The Great Yarmouth and Waveney area is hugely popular as a holiday destination, with an estimated 10 million day visits taking place over the summer. This effectively doubles our population, which can put extra pressure on the NHS.

“We hope that this campaign will remind both local people and holiday makers of the range of help and support which is available, in turn helping them to go to the right place, first time. By using the NHS appropriately, patients can help us to help them so that we can make the best possible use of our scarce resources.

“Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can offer a wide range of help and advice on medication and treating minor conditions, while people can also self-care for cuts and scrapes using a well-stocked first aid kit.

“If you need help or advice urgently but it is not a life-threatening situation, then NHS 111 is the number to call.”

Guide to your local NHS builds on the success of similar campaigns run by the CCG in the run up to the closure of Greyfriars walk in centre and before the Easter holidays. It will run for the next three months to cover the busy school holiday period.

published on 25/07/2017

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