Posted by Amanda Crawford at 31/12/2014 12:55:45
When you are feeling sick, who are you going to call? For most people, the first choice should be your GP.
But often you won’t need a face-to-face appointment. Instead, GPs are more than happy to call you back to discuss symptoms over the phone.
GP Dr Bob Bowes, who chairs NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group which plans and pays for most of the area’s health services, said: “Many patients believe that only a face-to-face appointment will do. But in very many cases your GP, who has access to your notes, is experienced enough to diagnose your condition over the phone.
“This saves you the time and trouble of having to get to a surgery which will probably already be full of patients coughing and sneezing and means you can stay in the warm in your own home. Obviously, if your doctor believes you need a face-to-face examination he or she will arrange that.”
Surgeries will be open as usual on Friday (2 January) and from Monday (5 January).
The advice comes as ambulance and A&E services across the country are experiencing more calls than ever.
If you are ill or injured but it is not serious enough for a 999 emergency, and you can’t call or visit a GP surgery, call the free NHS 111 number for advice and guidance or visit a minor injury unit.
Those with computers, laptops and smart-phones can use the interactive Health Help Now app from the Apple Store for iPhones, Google Play store for Android phones or download from www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net.
Health Help Now gives instant advice about symptoms any time, day or night. It also has the opening hours of all Kent and Medway pharmacies, complete with directions on how to get to your nearest pharmacy which is open.
West Kent patients have a choice of three minor injury units:
Edenbridge District and War Memorial Hospital
Mill Hill, Edenbridge, TN8 5DA
Open 8.30am to 6.30pm, every day of the year.
X-ray: 9am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday
Telephone 01732 862137
Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3PG
Open 8am to 8pm, every day of the year.
X-ray: 8.45am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Telephone 01732 470200
Crowborough War Memorial Hospital
Southview Road, Crowborough, TN6 1HB
Open 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year
Telephone: 01892 603602
Minor injury units are staffed by specialist nurses and offer a walk-in service, 365-days-a-year. Patients aged 12-months-old and over can be treated for minor cuts, bites and stings, foreign bodies in wounds, ears and noses, minor burns and broken arms and lower legs. If you have an ailment such as a cough, cold, ear, nose and throat infection or urinary tract infection you should go to your GP or minor injury unit.
Minor Injury Units treat:
• sprains and strains
• broken bones
• wound infections
• minor burns and scalds
• minor head injuries
• insect and animal bites
• minor eye injuries
• injuries to the back, shoulder and chest
They do not treat:
• chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• major injuries
• problems usually dealt with by a GP
• stomach pains
• gynaecological problems
• pregnancy problems
• allergic reactions
• alcohol- related problems
• mental health problems
If you are unsure, you can call the unit before you go or call the free NHS 111 helpline. A&E departments are only for life-threatening injuries or serious illnesses.
NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group plans and buys healthcare for the people of Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and the southern part of Sevenoaks.