A new campaign has been launched to help patients choose the best place to get treatment if they are unwell or are injured this winter.
NHS Isle of Wight has launched the Choose Well campaign to raise public awareness about the NHS services that are available. The campaign offers information to help people to ‘stay well’ over the winter period and to reinforce the message that 999 and A&E services are for those who are seriously ill or for emergencies. Encouraging people to choose the right service will help reduce the pressure on emergency services and ensure everyone receives appropriate and timely care.
Sheila Paul, Chief Operating Officer at St. Mary’s Hospital said: “We know that demand for NHS services is always high during the winter. Helping people to make the right choices in accessing services will not only benefit patients themselves but also assist our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to maintain high quality services.
“We want to make sure people living on the Isle of Wight get the right care, in the right place, at the right time over the winter months.”
Commenting on the need to Choose Well, Chris Smith, Head of the Island’s Ambulance Service said: “There are many situations, particularly life-threatening incidents, where it is appropriate for people to dial 999 to access emergency care. However, for those conditions that do not need an emergency response, we would urge the public to use other more appropriate services available to access treatment. Choosing well will not only benefit them, but will ensure our skills and resources are focused on those patients whose lives depend on it.”
The campaign uses a colour coded thermometer to help signpost patients to which service is most appropriate for them. These include:
- Self care - for the treatment of minor illnesses by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet
- NHS Direct - for round the clock, confidential health advice. Tel: 0845 4647 or log on to
- Pharmacists - for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them.
- GPs - providing a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for illnesses. Out of hours the Island Health Line can be contacted on 0845 6031 007.
- The Beacon Health Centre - for treatment of minor injuries such as cuts, stings, muscle and joint injuries without an appointment – 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
- Accident & Emergency (A&E) or 999 - for serious and life-threatening emergencies. If someone is seriously ill and in need of immediate emergency care, call 999 and ask for the ambulance service. www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
A common health problem, which does not require being seen by a doctor or nurse, could be treated by a visit to the local pharmacy as opposed to going to the GP. Most pharmacies now have a quiet area away where you can speak to the pharmacist more privately.
Kevin Noble, Community Pharmacy Lead said: “Community Pharmacists offer a great service; they are qualified experts who can offer remedies and health advice for a whole range of illnesses. They can also now sell many medicines that used to only be available on prescription which may mean you don’t have to see your GP in some cases.”
Anyone who thinks they may have swine flu should stay at home and call the National Pandemic Flu Service on 0800 1 513 100.
Notes for Editors
1. For further information contact the NHS Isle of Wight communications team on 552003. Further information about health services can be found at www.iow.nhs.uk or www.nhs.uk.
2. The ‘Choose Well’ thermometer can be viewed on the homepage.