Choose well this winter and help save lives

The local NHS is asking the public to help the NHS and people with life-threatening conditions this winter by choosing the right health service for their illness or injury.

Winter, and the build up to the festive season is a busy time of year and it is very easy, when you are ill or dealing with someone who is ill to call the number everyone remembers: 999, but there is a very important alternative with NHS 111.

You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help; it is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

The simple rules are call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

In North Kirklees, there is the walk in centre based in the emergency department of Dewsbury and District Hospital which is open 9am to 8pm (Mon-Fri) and 10am to 6pm (weekends and bank holidays), which can provide health support and advice to anyone who comes through the door.

By looking at these options first and leaving 999 and A&E only for the most serious illness and emergencies, people can often get care closer to their homes and avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital. By doing this, it also frees A&E to look after serious cases and save lives.

Dr Yasar Mahmood, a Cleckheaton GP and the NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical lead for urgent care said: “The vast majority of medical conditions do not need emergency care. There are a range of services which are easy-to-access that can help people get the right care at the right time.

“Making the right decision will not only help people get treated in the most appropriate way quickly, but it also means our health service’s resources are being used in the most effective way.”

Dr David Hughes, a local GP and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG lead for urgent care, added: “Please only go to A&E or dial 999 if you think you have a potentially life threatening condition. Most urgent problems are not life threatening, if you aren’t sure either contact your own GP, if the surgery is open, or ring 111, who will be able to assess quickly what urgent service is appropriate for you, including sending a 999 ambulance if needed.

This will often mean being seen closer to your own home and without a long wait in hospital. It also means the ambulance service and A&E are then free to deal with the more serious life threatening conditions more quickly and effectively. One day that might be you!”

It’s important to remember to only go to Accident and Emergency or to dial 999 if you have a life-threatening condition which needs immediate medical attention, such as loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, severe allergic reactions or severe burns or scalds.  In the case of suspected heart attack or stroke call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.

Please contact your GP practice to find out about their opening times for over Christmas and the New Year.  Local pharmacy opening information for the bank holidays can be found at www.northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk and www.greaterhuddersfieldccg.nhs.uk

The NHS website contains information from the NHS on conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living and can be accessed at www.nhs.uk

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