The NHS belongs to us all - let’s use it right!
You've twisted your ankle. Do you spend 4 hours in A&E or be seen and treated in a minor injuries unit within an hour?
There is a huge range of health services in Hertfordshire and people have told us that they do not always know where to go when they fall ill, or have enough information about what different NHS services actually offer. At the same time people want to know more about what they can do to look after their families’ and their own health.
Using the right health services is not only good for individuals but helps the NHS as a whole by making sure resources are used in the right way.
The NHS belongs to us all - let's use it right.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. For conditions like backache, earache, coughs and colds, you are best off looking after yourself to begin with then seeking help if your condition doesn't improve.
Going to your GP for medicines for things like headaches, hayfever, indigestion, colds, coughs, flu, constipation and diarrhoea costs the NHS in Hertfordshire around £9 million each year.
Money that the NHS spends on these medicines is money that cannot be used to help patients with more complex health problems.
You can be prepared for most common illnesses and ailments by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home. You can buy all the items you need from your local pharmacist or supermarket often at very little cost.
You probably won’t need to keep all these items in your medicine cabinet “just in case” but you may want to include a selection of those you use most often.
You can always ask your local pharmacist for advice on medicines and common ailments. More information on how your pharmacist can help is available on the Ask Your Pharmacist website from the National Pharmacy Association.
We have produced a number of information sheets on how to take care of yourself for a number of common ailments.
Visit your pharmacist (chemist) for advice when you are suffering from common health problems that do not need to be seen by a nurse or doctor like coughs, colds, aches and indigestion. Your local pharmacy can be found on NHS Choices
In Hertfordshire we have several pharmacies that are open for long hours, 7 days a week.
Ask your pharmacist and get healthy help on the High Street
Help save millions!
For when it's less urgent than 999 call 111. This service has replaced NHS Direct in Hertfordshire, and will be nationwide by autumn 2013.
If you have an illness that just won't go away make an appointment to see your GP or practice nurse or speak to them on the phone.
Many GPs in Hertfordshire are now open for longer and offer early morning, late evening or Saturday morning appointments for those people who find it difficult to get to their GP during usual opening hours. Ask your practice manager for details or visit www.nhs.uk.
GP heath centres
If you need urgent GP assistance in the evening or at weekends please call NHS 111.
Minor injuries units can treat injuries like sprains, cuts, grazes, bites, stings, burns and scalds. They can treat children aged 2+.
Urgent Care Centres treat most injuries or illnesses that are urgent but not life threatening. This includes sprains, strains, fractures, wounds, burns, scalds, minor head injuries, bites, stings, cuts and grazes.
A&E is for life-threatening situations such as a heart attack or stroke and for the care of people who show the symptoms of serious illness or who are badly injured. In an emergency dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
We are currently evaluating our Let's Use It Right! campaign and as part of this we have produced a short survey. We would be grateful if you could spend a few minutes answering some simple questions, it should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Click here to take survey