That could save your to help all year round

The fes­tive pe­riod and deal with an es­ti­mated 90,000 calls to 111 helpline The key to happy, healthy Christ­mas sea­son? Al­ways be pre­pared...

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

(like parac­eta­mol, ibupro­fen, Calpol for chil­dren, anti-his­tamines and re­hy­dra­tion salts) for com­mon win­ter ill­nesses.

“We also re­ceive a lot of calls from peo­ple who’ve for­got­ten to get their pre­scrip­tion, or are vis­it­ing friends and rel­a­tives and for­got­ten to bring their medicines. So the ad­vice is to or­der only what you need to cover you over the hol­i­day pe­riod, be pre­pared and check your GP’S open­ing hours.”

The self-care ad­vice pro­vided over the phone can also be found on­line at www.nhsin­form.scot. The site al­lows peo­ple to ac­cess med­i­cal ad­vice based on their symp­toms, and in­cludes a range of self­help guides, and also a fa­cil­ity for check­ing the range of near­est ser­vices by typ­ing in a post­code. Vis­it­ing NHS In­form should be a first port of call for those con­cerned about more com­mon ail­ments.

Su­san stressed: “It is time to phone NHS 24 if you’ve tried all the self-help and self­care ad­vice, and your symp­toms are not get­ting any bet­ter. When you call, our call han­dlers will take your de­tails and your call will be man­aged ac­cord­ing to the sever­ity of your symp­toms.”

There is a whole team of clin­i­cal spe­cial­ists who can help with the full range of symp­toms pre­sented to us, both phys­i­cal and men­tal health. Af­ter as­sess­ing your symp­toms, they may of­fer fur­ther ad­vice or, if they be­lieve you need fur­ther treat­ment, they will or­gan­ise an ap­point­ment for you to see a health pro­fes­sional.

Nat­u­rally, given the high num­ber of calls re­ceived by NHS 24 each day, es­pe­cially over the Christ­mas pe­riod, Su­san has dealt with a wide range of cases.

One in par­tic­u­lar sticks in her mind. “Once a lady called us be­cause she had bro­ken a false fin­ger nail. Peo­ple like that are tak­ing up time that could be spent speak­ing to some­one with a more se­ri­ous need. Also, if peo­ple can try self-care for com­mon, mi­nor con­di­tions in­stead of call­ing us, then that would also free up time for us to as­sess and deal with more se­ri­ous is­sues.”

Su­san added: “No two days are the same, it is very var­ied, which is why I do en­joy my job man­ag­ing a team of nurses. On Box­ing Day, New Year’s Day and Jan­uary 2, we are very busy with the vol­ume of calls com­ing in. The staff han­dling these calls are away from their fam­i­lies work­ing re­ally hard on the phones, and don’t get an­nual leave at this time of year. But NHS 24 staff are ex­tremely ded­i­cated and put pa­tient care first. “Al­though we want to ad­vise those with mi­nor com­mon win­ter ill­nesses to treat them at home, we cer­tainly don’t want to dis­cour­age peo­ple if they have a gen­uine health con­cern, and we are here for them, 24 hours a day. We of­ten find some peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the el­derly, don’t want to bother any­body, but when symp­toms per­sist then call 111.” Su­san will be on duty over New Year su­per­vis­ing the team of nurs­ing spe­cial­ists an­swer­ing the phone if you need to call 111 over the fes­tive sea­son. Make sure you know the open­ing hours of your GP surgery over the fes­tive pe­riod

The NHS ser­vice of­fers a team of clin­i­cal spe­cial­ists who can help with the full range of symp­toms

Make sure your first aid kit is well-stocked

Staff on hand at the NHS 24 call cen­tre in Cly­de­bank

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