Across the area there are a range of health services to support people if they feel unwell or have any health concerns. There are services which you may be unfamiliar with, but could be more appropriate and convenient for you depending on your specific issue.
For minor ailments and injuries your best route to recover is likely to be self-care. There are a variety of services that can support you to do this:
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can help you prepare for many of the common illnesses and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your local area by visiting the NHS.uk website: www.nhs.uk. It also includes a symptom checker.
When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.
Your Local GP
Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses you can’t treat yourself. A GP will be available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays (local GP practice times may vary).
In West Lancashire, residents can now see a GP in the evenings and weekends at certain times.
On Tuesdays from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Skelmersdale Family Practice; on Wednesdays from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Matthew Ryder Clinic in Upholland and at the Tarleton Group Practice from 6.30pm to 8pm; on Thursdays at the West Lancashire Health Centre in Ormskirk from 6.30pm to 8pm.
At the weekend, you can see a GP, nurse and blood clinic at the Sandy Lane Health Centre in Skelmersdale on Saturday from 10am to 4pm and on Sunday you can see a GP and nurse from 10am to 2pm.
To make an appointment to see an extended hours GP, contact your GP practice.
If you don’t have a GP, you can register with your local surgery. If you’re not sure where this is, you can find out at: www.nhs.uk or call 0300 77 77 007.
GP Out of Hours Service
If your local surgery is closed, you can still see a GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary.
It is very likely that you and your family will be seen and treated more quickly using the out-of-hours service than if you were waiting to see a doctor in A&E, especially at busy times.
For more information please visit www.examineyouroptions.info
West Lancashire has two walk-in centres. The West Lancashire Health Centre in Ormskirk, which is based at Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ. This centre is open from 8am to 8pm (with patients who have arrived before 8pm being seen up to 8.30pm), seven days a week including bank holidays and the Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre at The Concourse, Skelmersdale, L39 2AZ, which is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays.
The staff within these centres, can treat minor injuries and minor ailments such as infections, rashes, stomach upsets, small cuts, strains and sprains.
To access help, visit the walk-in centre and speak to the receptionist. Once you are booked in, you will be seen by a clinician who will decide how urgent your case is and you will be then be seen in priority order.
Manage your repeat prescriptions and make GP appointments from the comfort of your own home, without having to venture outside, by using the new FREE Patient Access website and smartphone app. Simply search for ‘Patient Access’ in the app store.
If using Patient Access for the very first time, you will first have to contact your GP practice so that you can register to use the app.
For up to the minute information on where to go if you fall ill visit the Examine Your Options website: www.examineyouroptions.info.