GPs give advice on winter care when it is #notanemergency

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GPs are urging people to get the ‘right care from the NHS this winter’, when it is #notanemergency.

The winter months can be challenging across the NHS for both patients and those working hard to care for those in need - especially in an emergency, a spokesperson said.

GPs who are working to plan, buy and monitor NHS services across Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex are now urging patients to ensure they choose the best service for their needs so they get access to care as quickly and easily as possible, it has been revealed.

People who need help fast, but it’s #notanemergency can head to Crawley Urgent Care Centre, which is open 24 hours a day at Crawley Hospital, or the Minor Injuries Units at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead or Horsham Hospital, which treats most injuries that are urgent but not life-threatening, a spokesperson said.

The Crawley Urgent Care Centre also incorporates the urgent GP walk-in service for patients with a minor injury or medical condition that is not life-threatening but needs to be seen, or those who are unable to get an urgent appointment with their GP.

Dr Minesh Patel, NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG clinical lead for urgent care and a Mid Sussex GP, said: “Our minor injuries units and urgent care centre are able to see, diagnose and treat a wide range of minor injuries for both adults and children over one year old - such as minor burns and scalds, wounds, limb injuries and cuts and grazes and more. X-Rays and other tests to diagnose can be done on site.

“Using your local MIU or UCC will save you a potentially long wait at A&E, and allow staff there to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions.”

People who have a lung disease, kidney or heart disease, diabetes, or other long-term health conditions or suffer from breathlessness are advised that cold weather can make them ‘more likely to catch a winter illness that could become very serious’.

They are advised to seek advice from their pharmacist before it gets more serious.

People could also be at more risk from the effects of flu, which can develop into a more serious condition such as pneumonia or bronchitis, or even make someone’s existing condition worse.

The NHS provides free flu vaccinations to those over 65, those with long term conditions, young children and pregnant women and people can check if they are eligible at www.nhs.uk/staywell.

Dr Ketan Kansagra, NHS Crawley CCG clinical lead for urgent care and a Crawley GP, said: “The key to a healthy winter is to get help early, before your condition worsens.

“Your local pharmacist can help with much more than you may think and most pharmacies provide a private consulting room for confidential conversations. There are also a number of late night pharmacies in our area, so you can get help when you need it.

“But make sure you order and pick up prescription medicines before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the festive period.

“Planning ahead for you and your loved ones’ health can prevent a lot of discomfort and inconvenience later on.”

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