NHS offers advice to know where to turn if you or a loved one falls ill over the winter months.
NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want to make sure that residents know the little steps to take in order to help the NHS help you, such as stocking up on over the counter medicines over the winter months.
Help us Help You
Across the region 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.
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can also help you to self-care and prepare for many common winter illnesses and offer advice on which medicines to keep in stock at home.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies in your local area by visiting www.nhs.uk. This useful website also includes a handy 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. You can also access NHS 111 online, by visiting www.111.nhs.uk.
If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.
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). 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 311 22 33.
In West Lancashire, patients can also now access a GP in the evening and at the weekend, seven days a week, including all bank holidays.
This service is offered at various GP practices across West Lancashire and your registered GP practice will be able to advise you of your closest practice offering this service.
To book an appointment to see a GP in the evening or weekend, simply call your GP practice and make an appointment as you would do normally.
This is a pre-booked service. If you or a loved one falls ill in the evening, when your GP is closed, call freephone NHS 111 or visit your nearest walk-in centre.
GP Out of Hours Service
You can still speak to a GP even after your practice has closed by using the GP out-of-hours service. To access this service, simply call NHS 111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk.
The West Lancashire Urgent Treatment Centre (formally referred to as the West Lancashire Walk-in Centre) in Ormskirk, which is based at Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ, and the Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre at The Concourse, Skelmersdale, WN8 6LJ, are both open seven days a week, from 8am – 8pm.
The staff within these centres, can treat minor injuries and minor ailments. To access help, visit the respective centre that you would like to use and speak to the receptionist. Patients can book on the day appointments at the Ormskirk centre by calling NHS 111.
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.
For emergency treatment when your dentist is closed, call 0300 1234 010.
Manage your repeat prescriptions and make GP appointments from the comfort of your own home, without having to venture outside, by using the FREE Patient Access website and smartphone app. Simply search for ‘Patient Access’ in the app store.
Remember though, 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.
Make and cancel GP appointments, manage your repeat prescriptions and set medication reminders using the FREE myGP smartphone app. Search myGP in the app store or visit www.myGP.com to download.
You can register to use the myGP app with your mobile number and date of birth.
Dr John Caine, a GP in West Lancashire and chair at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “During the winter months, it is really important we all know where to go if we, or a loved one falls ill.
“If you have a repeat prescription ensure that you don’t leave it too late to get the medicine you need. And remember that for anything non-urgent, such as minor illnesses like coughs and colds, scrapes or sprains you can visit your local pharmacist in the first instance, who will be able to assist.
“It’s important that we keep GP appointments free for more urgent medical needs.”
A useful poster containing all of the health services available to you in West Lancashire is available here.