We all have our part to play in the smooth running of our healthcare services, so when you’re in need of help with a health matter, take a moment to think which is the right service to choose. Because by choosing wisely, the whole system can flow better.
Let’s look at the options…
Simple first aid kit
First off, a simple first aid kit containing plasters, bandages, rehydration remedies, antiseptic, and paracetamol (including liquid paracetamol for babies and children) will sort out ailments such as cuts, grazes, headaches, coughs and colds, and upset tummies without further fuss.
Your local pharmacy
Next, your local pharmacy does so much more than issue prescriptions. They can help with a large list of minor ailments. You can go to them with eye irritations, skin conditions, water infections and much more.
Pharmacists are highly trained clinicians, with a private room to carry out consultations. They can share the notes back to your GP, or refer you if it’s something more serious. Community pharmacists are readily available to help you, so do take advantage of this.
Your own GP
Your own GP is always the best choice when there’s something concerning you about your health. They know you best, and have a range of appointment types, including face to face when you need to be seen in person.
Receptionists are trained in asking questions that will determine the best route of care for your need. And these days the team at your practice consists of many new specialised roles, so you can get the right type of support.
Mental health concerns
For mental health concerns, you can call the 24-hour helpline for free on 0800 038 5300.
NHS 111 is available any time of the day or night, visit NHS online or phone 111. Fully trained advisors will direct you to the most appropriate care, with a clinician on hand if needed.
Minor injury units or urgent treatment centre
You can visit one of the county’s minor injury units or the urgent treatment centre at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance if you have a more serious and sudden need. Please make sure you call 111 before turning up.
These are staffed by highly skilled nurses and clinicians and can treat broken bones, insect and animal bites, cuts and injuries which may need stitching. Some have X-ray facilities.
Emergency department or 999
And for life-threatening conditions there is the emergency department or 999. You should use these straight away for conditions such as breathing difficulties, suspected heart attacks or strokes, and unconsciousness. Keep the emergency services for emergency, life-threatening situations only. They must be available to those who truly need them.
Visit our help us help you webpages to see details of all services, opening and waiting times.
“We continue to face enormous pressures on healthcare services throughout Cornwall, and it’s being further heightened by the current impact of the highly transmissible variant of COVID-19. Above all, we want to ensure that people can get the care that best fits their need, when they need it. So please act to help yourself and our NHS, by seeking the appropriate treatment for your level of illness or injury, and keep the emergency department for life-saving matters.
“If you feel you need urgent medical attention but it’s not life-threatening, call your GP practice or 111 for advice. The 111 service is available for you round the clock at all times. If you have a minor ailment or illness, then visit your local pharmacist. They can provide expert advice, over-the-counter remedies, and even face-to-face consultations in private with no appointment needed. Please continue to wear a face covering when in any healthcare setting.” Dr John Garman, Helston Medical Centre senior partner and NHS Kernow Governing Body member.