Getting The Care You Need
Seeking help for your health concern in the right place within the NHS is critical to ensuring you receive the appropriate care at the right time. Practical support and resources are accessible via .nhs.uk to help you find the right first step towards getting the care you need. The online service offers A-Z guides on what to do and when to get help in response to a broad range of symptoms and in-depth information on medicines.
After recognising your symptoms, you can seek the right help for your health concern from three essential services: community pharmacies, GP surgeries and NHS 111 online. Knowing how and when to use these three services will ensure an improved experience seeking help from the right medical professionals. Seek the right care for your health concern as early as possible, and don’t wait for it to worsen.
Community pharmacists are there for you
We’ve all been to pharmacies to pick up prescriptions. Still, many don’t know that qualified community pharmacists can offer clinical advice for various minor health concerns.
A community pharmacy is an ideal place to go if you’re feeling under the weather, perhaps with aches and pains or a stomach ache. Reena Barai has been running her family pharmacy in Sutton, South London, for some 18 years, and she is pleased to see the number of people coming to her pharmacy with more minor illness concerns. “Pharmacists are the experts in minor illnesses and recognising what we call ‘red flags’ or more serious symptoms,” she tells City A.M. “All our team are trained to respond to symptoms, and they all know how to ask the right questions and refer to GP surgeries if necessary.”
But often, a pharmacist can look after a patient presenting with minor symptoms. “We spend a lot of time talking to our patients about self-care because often you don’t need to see a doctor, and you can just look after yourself by doing simple measures at home, such as drinking lots of fluids, resting and taking paracetamol.”
Although many people are reluctant to consult their GP team on a minor problem, consulting your community pharmacy can offer much-needed expert advice and reassurance for minor illnesses, such as “coughs, colds and eye infections,” and even better, “you don’t need an appointment” Reena affirms .
Find your nearest pharmacy at: www.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy
Your local pharmacist is trained in evaluating symptoms and coming to the conclusion as to what treatment plan is right for you. You can then be directed to the healthcare professional who will best provide the care your health concern requires, relieving pressure from your local A&E or Minor Injury units.
Accessing a GP surgery can help you find the right care you require for your health concern. Reception teams are trained to ask a series of questions so they can direct you to see the right member of their team. Whether that’s a nurse, GP or physio, these trained professionals on reception teams can assess your symptoms and ensure you are directed towards the healthcare professional who is best suited to providing the care and treatment you need.
For urgent but not life-threatening conditions, the NHS 111 online service can offer you practical guidance on what to do next if you are unsure. They will provide the appropriate advice for your particular health concern and, if necessary, direct you towards the care you need from the right medical professional.
The service will ask a series of questions about your health concern to get all the information together and then direct you to the proper care. Depending on the situation, the NHS 111 online service will refer you to a local service that can assist you: connect you to a nurse, pharmacist or a doctor, tell you how to get any medicine you need, provide self-care advice or, if severe, ask you to head to in-person urgent care such as A&E.
When using NHS 111, remember that it was developed by the same medical professionals you might see if you attend a hospital or GP surgery. In using the service, you may find that you don’t need urgent care and that you’d be better off using a different NHS service. Whatever happens, and whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, NHS 111 will help you find the right next step towards receiving the proper care for the health issue you are experiencing.
The service is also available via the NHS app.
NHS 111 online: Go to 111.nhs.uk or use the NHS app
Ready for you
The NHS is there to ensure that everybody receives the care that they need and with a plethora of health care options, help is always available . Contacting the NHS as early as possible is the best way to help you to stay healthy and well. So whatever your health concern is, remember the breadth of NHS Services available, from your community pharmacist to GP Surgery, and help us help you get the best possible care.