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Accessing your NHS services this Easter

Accessing your NHS services this Easter
09 April 2020

Your NHS services are still operating to care for and treat people over this Easter holiday weekend – despite the temporary changes brought in to help tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please remember to stay at home to stay safe and help the NHS save lives.

If you have a high temperature, a continuous cough and think you may have COVID-19, and need care or advice, please contact NHS111 online. Please do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or any other healthcare venue.

However if you have other health-related issues and need advice and treatment, the majority of GP practices will open on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday. On Saturday April 11 and Sunday 12, GP access will be the same as any other weekend.

In particular, if children have periods of prolonged fever, pain or other changes such as prolonged loss of appetite, vomiting, not passing urine, tummy pain and other worrying symptoms, their parent or carer should call their GP surgery for advice as usual.

Dr Andrew Holden, a GP at Petersfield and the primary care lead for NHS Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “If you think you need to be seen, please use your practice’s website to access eConsult for an online consultation or phone to discuss whether you need an appointment.

“People who feel unwell and think they may need a GP appointment should still phone their surgery in the usual way, especially with problems such as like breast lumps, chest pain, and blood in urine.

“Many patients can receive the appropriate advice and support over the phone, with appointments only being arranged for those who really need to see someone face-to-face. This may not be at your usual practice but this will be explained to you when the appointment is made.

“These are exceptional circumstances and the NHS is, as everyone knows, facing major pressures but our staff are still here to help you.

“We know for many people it will be really difficult not seeing family and friends over Easter but there are specialist services available to help you, including a range of mental health support."

As well as most GP practices, the following options are available this Easter.

  • A number of pharmacies will be open in each area to provide prescriptions and essential over-the-counter medication. They will be open from 2pm-5pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday and some may be open longer. Check their opening times on their website or here - before you travel.
  • NHS111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) is able to provide advice and care for a range of issues. Please only call 111 if you can’t get online or you’ve been instructed to.
  • Mental health – there are a number of specialist services provided across the area which will offer support. See the contact details below.
  • Minor Injury Units (MIUs) and Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can provide urgent care for minor injuries. The ones which remain open this Easter are listed at the foot of this news release.
  • Emergency dental treatment. If patients have a dental emergency they should call their dental practice during opening hours for advice. If they do not have a regular NHS dentist, they can search for a local dentist on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk and call them. In the evening and at weekends, patients can contact NHS 111, which will provide advice and direct patients to an out of hours service if necessary. When patients call a practice, a telephone assessment will assess their dental needs, offer advice or prescribe medication to relieve any pain or treat an infection.

New helplines are also available to provide information and advice, as well as practical support to frail or vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.

  • In Hampshire, Hantshelp4vulnerable can be contacted on 0333 370 4000, seven days a week from 9am-5pm
  • For Portsmouth, call 023 9268 8004, 9am-5pm Monday to Friday
  • For Southampton, call 023 8083 4800, 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday - For the Isle of Wight, 01983 823 600, seven days a week 9am-5pm.

Dr Holden added: “The NHS is working extremely hard to make sure everyone is able to receive the care they need during these difficult times. The changes in place will help us to do this and local people can help by choosing the right service if they need care over the Easter weekend.

“However, please remember to use our Emergency Departments and/or 999 for life threatening situations such as heart attacks, strokes and serious blood loss. They remain open and able to treat people who need the specialist lifesaving care they provide.”

Specific service information:

Pharmacies

Pharmacists are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the pandemic. Please treat staff with respect. They are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.

If you have a prescription to collect:

  • If you are 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for help with delivery
  • Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to ensure they have seen you pick up the bag
  • If your medicines are being delivered ensure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.

For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Mental health services

In life-threatening emergencies, always call 999.

For urgent mental health support, a new mental health rapid response service has been launched, with calls triaged through the 111 or 999 service. Enhanced web-based mental health support is now available on the online 111 service, via www.111.nhs.uk.

People already using community mental health services should continue to contact their care team as usual. They may receive routine care over the phone or via video-link rather than face-to-face.

Solent Mind (023 8017 9049), which opens from 10am-2pm Monday to Friday, continues to adapt services to provide remote support for both new and existing service users. Their website www.solentmind.org.uk contains a Coronavirus resource hub.

There are also other specialist services in some areas of the county and Isle of Wight.

  • Southampton adults in a mental health crisis or emotional distress should text LIGHTHOUSE and their postcode to 07451 276010 between 4.30pm and 12am to access the service.
  • Havant’s Adult Safe Haven offers support in south eastern Hampshire. Call 07887 417255 Monday to Friday 6.30pm-10.30pm and weekends/Bank Holidays 1pm10.30pm.
  • Portsmouth – call PositiveMinds on 023 9282 4795.
  • For the Isle of Wight, over 18s can call the Safe Haven on 01983 520168 or email safehaven@twosaints.org.uk from 10am-10pm on weekends and bank holidays. There’s also a 24/7 mental health crisis number - 01983 522214.

Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units

Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) and minor injuries units (MIUs) can help with a number of conditions including those below but you are advised to call ahead before attending.

  • cuts and grazes
  • sprains and strains
  • broken bones or fractures
  • bites and stings
  • infected wounds
  • minor head injuries
  • minor eye problems.

Portsmouth – St Mary’s Urgent Treatment Centre on the St Mary’s Community Health Campus, Milton (0333 200 1822) – 7.30am-10pm weekdays and 8am-10pm weekends. It does not treat babies under six months old so you should refer to yourw local Emergency Department in this instance. Visit https://www.stmarystreatmentcentre.nhs.uk/utc/

Petersfield Community Hospital Minor Injuries Unit (023 82 310595) – open seven days a week from8am to 5.45pm https://www.southernhealth.nhs.uk/services/minor-injuriesunits/

Gosport War Memorial Hospital Minor Injuries Unit (023 92 794753) - open seven days a week from 8am to 11.15pm https://www.porthosp.nhs.uk/departments-andservices/gosport-minor-injuries-unit/96458

Isle of Wight Urgent Treatment Centre, St Mary’s Hospital. Call NHS 111 to make an appointment. Please do not turn up without an appointment.

Lymington - the PHL Lymington Urgent Treatment Centre (01590 663 000), Wellworthy Road, opens from 8am and 9pm, 365 days a year. https://www.phlgroup.co.uk/ourservices/primary-care/lymington-urgent-treatment-centre/

Southampton – the Royal South Hants Urgent treatment Centre (0333 999 7613), on the site of the Royal South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, is currently only dealing with injuries – not minor illnesses. For an updated list of what it treats, visit https://www.royalsouthhantsutc.nhs.uk/