NHS services across the local area have seen an increase in demand over the past few weeks, including the Emergency Department (ED) at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
Currently ED is extremely busy so local people are urged to think if they really need to go to the department or if they could receive the care or advice they need from one of the many other services available across the area.
We are also seeing higher numbers than expected of people with flu. Whilst it is a very unpleasant illness, it is usually only a really serious concern for people who are already vulnerable. For people who are usually fit and healthy, in most cases flu will usually clear up in a week or so - at most – and there is little point in seeking out medical help.
“The last thing we would want is for those people who really need to be seen by the Emergency Department to not come but it is important to remember that the department is for emergencies like severe head injuries, chest pain and loss of consciousness,” said Dr Elizabeth Fellows, GP and Urgent Care Clinical Lead for Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).
“There is a range of other services including NHS 111 and the Minor Injuries Units that can treat cuts, sprains and minor fractures. Local pharmacies can also provide a wide range of advice and treatments for many common ailments and illnesses.
“There is lots of hard work going on to ensure we manage the demands we are currently facing which are likely to continue for the next few days, Dr Fellows added.
“This includes our community care teams supporting people in their own homes where appropriate and social care teams helping people to come home from hospital by ensuring the package of care they need is put in place as quickly as possible.
“Choosing the right service to go to will help ensure you are seen by the right person in the right place.”
If someone has flu there are four things they should do: drink plenty of water, rest, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower their temperature and reduce aches and pains, and take vitamin C. Antibiotics won’t help.
Many common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home. There is lots of information and tips available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.
You can get help from your local pharmacy or chemist for many minor ailments and health related problems.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, every day. If you are worried about your health you can call 111 and get advice from fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics.
For ailments such as stomach pain and vomiting, a persistent cough or ear pain, call your GP surgery for advice.
For minor injuries, go to your local minor injuries unit (MIU) or walk-in centre. They can treat deep cuts, sprains and strains, broken bones, wound infections, minor burns and scalds, minor head injuries, minor eye injuries, and injuries to the back, shoulder and chest.
The following Minor Injuries Units are available locally:
Emergency Department and 999 emergency services
Only in a real emergency should you contact 999 or go to the Emergency Department. This should only be used for those most in need of emergency medical care, for example if you are having a stroke or heart attack.