The three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service are reminding us that hospital emergency departments are for potentially life-threatening emergencies and very serious conditions.
If you don’t have this type of condition – in other words if it’s urgent but not life-threatening - you are likely to experience long waiting times whilst also increasing demand on services.
Instead, you could be getting better sooner by using another local service.
You will be directed to 111 if you call your normal GP service out-of-hours, but 111 is available 24/7. If you've called 111 you will be assessed by a team of highly trained call advisors and clinicians. Depending on your condition you could receive a home visit from an Out of Hours GP or one of any number of other outcomes based on your telephone assessment. You can also visit 111.nhs.uk.
Urgent Care Centres
Urgent Care Centres are run by healthcare professionals and many have x-ray facilities. They can deal with a range of health issues including sprains, suspected fractures and breaks, minor head injuries, cuts and grazes, minor scalds and burns, ear and throat infections and more.
A map of Urgent Care Centres in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is available here and shows opening times.
In addition to this, the Corby Urgent Care Centre is open from 8am to 8pm every day including weekends and bank holidays.
Pharmacists can give expert advice on common illnesses including coughs, colds, aches and pains and they can answer questions about prescribed medicines. They can also advise on treatment of minor injuries and many have private consultation rooms.
A full list of pharmacy opening times in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is available here.
You can be prepared to treat minor illness and injury at home using a well-stocked stocked medicine cabinet. You can find more self-care advice on the CCG website:
"By knowing more about the different health services available and what they offer, you can get yourself and your family the right treatment much faster. As a GP, I know that when my practice is busy, some of my patients aren't sure what to do when they need immediate health advice or care, but it's not a 999 emergency. There are a range of alternative services available locally. By phoning NHS 111 you will still be able to speak to a GP or other clinician whenever you need to, and they will be able to get the care that you need."
NHS 111 is free and gives confidential health guidance and advice, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Run by Derbyshire Health United, they will also direct you to other local services where appropriate.