Health leaders across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are urging people to “choose well” this summer amid rising demand on the local NHS.
People are being asked to think carefully about the support they need and reminded of the healthcare services available to them to on their doorstep.
The NHS is always there for anyone who needs help, they stress, but it is more important than ever that people think carefully about where to get the help they need.
GP surgeries, the 111 service, Emergency Department (ED) teams, mental health services, ambulance crews and call handlers – staff in all sectors of the NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have been seeing a sustained trend of rising demand after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Derek Sandeman, Chief Medical Officer at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “The public’s support during the pandemic so far has been inspiring and humbling, and NHS staff across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are still totally focused on doing what they do so brilliantly - working incredibly hard to serve those people who rely on them so much. I know I speak on behalf of colleagues from all parts of the NHS when I say that we are all so grateful for the backing we have received.
“The best way that people can continue to show that support is by thinking carefully about the help they need and choosing well – not just to help the staff, but to help themselves get the right help, quickly. Emergency Departments will always be there for anyone facing a really serious or life-threatening emergency, but for everyone else there are excellent options which are quicker, and more convenient.
“Thinking carefully about the help you need is a ‘win-win’. Patients win because it means getting the right support, at the first time of asking. And staff win because they are able to focus their skills and efforts on caring for the people who need them.
“Pharmacies can provide a huge range of medicines and expert advice, close to home. Using the NHS 111 service – either online, or by phone – lets the NHS do the thinking for you, and will direct you straight to the right place for your needs. All GP surgeries offer ‘on the day’ services as well as routine appointments, and all can be contacted online, or by phone. There are treatment centres across our area which often give people a more local alternative to waiting in ED.
“The impact of the pandemic on the NHS right now is thankfully far less than it has been, but everyone still has a key role to play in helping our frontline teams to give people the best possible help. And if you’re not sure what to do – please ask. Having an injury or illness can be stressful, so the 111 service is there to help you make good choices at a difficult time.”
Our communities are reminded that many common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home – the most convenient option of all. Information and tips are available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk.
Locally there is a huge range of help that people can access if they do need treatment or advice from the NHS. A useful summary of all the help available can be found here.