NHS across Hampshire and Isle of Wight appeal for public’s help as services remain exceptionally busy

There are a number of important ways that you can help the NHS to help you this winter, especially if you need care when it’s not an emergency. 

Derek Sandeman, Chief Medical Officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “We have seen countless people support the NHS in so many ways – none more so than the army of volunteers who freely gave up their time as volunteers at the various COVID-19 vaccination centres, and who continue to do so now, in all weathers. 

“People will be aware of .the many challenges facing the NHS across-the-board at present. All NHS services are busy but health and care teams continue to work incredibly hard to provide safe, high quality care and manage the impact of rising COVID-19 infections. As always, the NHS remains here for you when you need it. 

“We know it can be frustrating and worrying when trying to make an appointment, or if you are waiting for a call back, when things are busy. But please be patient and be kind and respectful to our staff. 

“We are again asking for people to help us to help them, and there are a number of simple tips we invite people to follow, including ways to get the most appropriate service for their needs.” 

Health and care teams continue to work tirelessly to provide safe, high quality care and manage the impact of rising COVID-19 infections, however, NHS services across Hampshire and Isle of Wight continue to face significant demand.

As always, the NHS remains here for you when you need it and essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require urgent medical help, please continue to come forward but to help manage the impact on our services we are asking for people to help us to help them, and there are a number of simple tips we invite people to follow, including ways to get the most appropriate service for their needs. They are:

Get vaccinated to help yourself and others

If you are 18 or over, get your COVID-19 booster jab. It’s not too late to get your first or second dose either. More information on how to access the jab in Hampshire and Isle of Wight is available here. And don’t forget your flu jab. You will be protecting yourself and everyone you come into contact with.

Remember the Emergency Department (ED) is for emergencies

Hospital Emergency Departments and 999 are really busy and must be kept for emergencies. GP surgeries are busy too. Pharmacies can help with concerns about minor illness; Urgent Treatment Centres around the area can see injuries, including limb fractures. Try these ahead of ED or GP or contact 111 online if you are unsure.

If you or someone you know needs urgent care but it is not a life-threatening emergency contact 111 first

Contact 111 online for urgent care and trained staff will help you find the service you need or advise you on what to do. They can even book you an appointment slot if you need one so you know exactly when to attend – all arranged quickly and easily from the safety and the comfort of your own home. 

Urgent treatment centres are best for minor injuries
Minor injuries or illnesses don’t need the Emergency Department. You’ll be seen more quickly, by trained experts, at one of our many urgent treatment centres or minor injuries units for aches, sprains, strains, wound infections and even limb fractures. NHS 111 can even book you in if you contact them first.

There’s no place like home if you’re ready to leave hospital

If you have a loved one or friend in hospital who is ready to come home, you can help by picking them up promptly. A friendly face to ease them home is really important and it also means our hospitals beds can be made available quickly for patients who need them.

Expert help on every high street…

Your high street pharmacist is a highly qualified expert who can help you with concerns about minor illnesses, medicines or other wellbeing advice. They can put your mind at rest very quickly, or point you in the direction of someone who can help should you need it.

Your GP practice has online access and a range of expert help…

GP practices are very busy and that is why they will often triage requests to ensure that they prioritise people according to need. Using eConsult or your practice’s online contact service helps the practice clinician get you the right help at the right time, including experts in the team to see you quickly.

There are things you can do to help yourself…

Keeping some everyday medicines and painkillers in a safe place at home can be really useful for dealing with minor bugs and illnesses like colds, stomach upsets and the occasional hangover. For the conditions you can manage at home, there are some great tips here.

Make use of online help – and contact services online if you can

The NHS has other great resources online to help you check symptoms and get advice. Try www.nhs.uk for health and medicines advice and Healthier Together www.what0-18.nhs.uk/ if you are concerned about an unwell child.