DOCTORS and nurses are urging local people to add health into their list of spring clean jobs this Easter.

Staff at Hywel Dda University Health Board are reminding people of the need to think early about repeat prescriptions, and opening hours of GP surgeries and community pharmacies as we approach the Easter Holidays.

And choosing well when you need health advice or support – by using NHS Direct or visiting your pharmacy – can have a hugely positive impact on busy Emergency Departments during peak holiday periods.

Mr Jeremy Williams, A&E consultant and clinical lead for unscheduled care said: “The best way the public can help our frontline staff, and ensure that they and their families can be seen quickly, is to use other health services and reserve our Emergency Departments for serious or life threatening situations. Ultimately this helps us to save lives.”

The Choose Well guidance can also help people choose the right health service to best meet their individual needs – and to ensure emergency services are there for when we need them most. For example, did you know your local Pharmacist can give you free, confidential advice, support and treatment on a range common ailments and any emergency medicine you may need without booking an appointment? The list of common ailments can be found at http://www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/communitypharmacy

Some community pharmacies offer a Triage and Treat service to help you if you have had a low level injury and will save you a visit to a doctor or a hospital accident and emergency department. The types of injuries that can be treated in the pharmacy under this service without an appointment are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, sprains and strains, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns. There are also now 6 Pharmacy Walk-In Centres located throughout Hywel Dda offering a range of enhanced services.

You can find out more information from the website, where a free mobile phone app is available, which provides a GPS facility to locate the nearest services to you, as well as information leaflets with local contact numbers www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/choosewell

You can also print out this handy list of local pharmacy opening times over the Bank Holidays: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/46867

GPs advise that you get repeat prescriptions in as early as possible to avoid any delay.

Tregaron GP Dr Sion James, GP lead for North Ceredigion, added: “It is important to be prepared and organised with your medications at all times but particularly approaching a Bank Holiday. Lots of services, your local Pharmacist and a round the clock GP out of hours, are available if you have an urgent problem when your surgery is closed.”

If you are unwell and need to contact a GP out of hours or NHS Direct Wales dial 111.

If you need any urgent dental care over the Easter period you can contact your dental practice to access advice and care. If you do not have access to a dental practice, please contact NHS Direct on 111 where an appointment can be arranged for you if required.

For urgent social care out of hours, contact:
Carmarthenshire – 01558 824283
Ceredigion – 0845 6015392
Pembrokeshire – 08708 509508

If you are worried about the way you are feeling or behaving, or you are struggling to manage on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speak to your GP or ring the C.A.L.L. Mental Health Helpline on 0800 132 737, text ‘help’ to 81066 or visit www.callhelpline.org.uk

You could also check your medicine cabinet in advance to check you have a good supply of over the counter medicines which are useful to manage conditions at home. Here are some items you should keep in a child safe cupboard:

• Pain killing medicine e.g. paracetamol

• Rehydration mixture

• Indigestion remedy

• Plasters

• Thermometer

In an emergency, life threatening situation, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you need treatment that cannot wait but is not an emergency and you don’t know where to go, contact NHS Direct Wales on 111.

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