Use health services wisely this Easter

People living in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to help the NHS to help them by using healthcare services wisely over the Easter weekend.

The area’s five NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – Norwich, South Norfolk, North Norfolk, West Norfolk and Great Yarmouth and Waveney – are reminding people that going to the right place for treatment and advice will mean they get the help they need more quickly.

Anyone who needs a repeat prescription is being encouraged to order and collect it in advance of the bank holiday weekend.

For minor injuries and illnesses, people should self-care at home using a well-stocked first aid kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters and painkillers.

A wide range of healthcare advice on minor illnesses, infections, headaches, emergency contraception and coughs and colds, is also available from pharmacies, many of which are open over the weekend.

If it is urgent but not an emergency, you can call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the freephone number is manned by trained advisors, supported by clinicians, who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.

The NHS walk-in centre at Rouen House in Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. A nurse-led centre, it can help with a range of issues, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, flu-like symptoms, skin complaints and stomach problems. You can simply walk in, without an appointment.

The minor injuries unit based at Cromer Hospital in Mill Road is also open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. Patients can turn up without an appointment and receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures.

Pharmacist Ben Ampomah said: “Over Easter, we are asking people to make sure they have their tablets in stock and order early. But if you have a problem during the Easter weekend, then go to your pharmacist who will help you to get medication until the surgeries open again rather than heading into A&E.

“We are also able to offer advice on a range of minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, hayfever and rashes. People don’t need to make an appointment but can just pop into their local pharmacy who will provide immediate advice or ensure they have an onward referral to the right service.”

Dr Liam Stevens, interim chairman of NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: “There are a wide variety of NHS services available for anyone who becomes ill or injures themselves over the Easter break. We are urging people to think about the help they need and choose the right service to meet their needs.

“By choosing well, not only will you get treatment more quickly but will also leave urgent care services free for people in greater need.”

A list of pharmacies open over the Easter weekend are here. Please double check for any changes by calling the pharmacy before you travel

Flu - still time to get vaccinated

NHS England figures have shown a sharp increase in cases of flu in the last week of December. If you are eligible for a free flu jab from the NHS but still have not had it, you should ask at your GP practice. If you are not eligible for a free vaccination from the NHS, then flu jabs can be bought cheaply from most high street pharmacies.

More GP appointments over winter

All sections of the NHS are always under great pressure during the winter, which is why members of the public are asked to choose services wisely.

  • Many common ailments can be managed at home with over the counter medicines from your pharmacist, for example coughs, colds, norovirus and dry skin. Please ask your pharmacist.
  • You can often treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week. Most people who have flu can look after themselves safely with rest, painkillers and plenty of fluids. People may need to seek medical advice if symptoms do not ease after a week, or if they are pregnant, over 65 or have a long term illnesses, for example heart/breathing complaints,
  • Ask your GP practice for an appointment if you really do need to see a doctor or nurse.
  • If you are unsure, or if it is urgent and you cannot get a GP appointment, you can call 111
  • The walk-in centre in Norwich is open 7am-9pm, 7 days a week.
  • Cromer Minor Injuries Unit at Cromer Hospital is open 8am-7.45pm, 7 days a week.

Adult safeguarding data published

NHS Digital has recently published the Safeguarding Adult Collection (SAC) for 2016-17 which is a data return made by all local authorities on their adult safeguarding work. The return details adults at risk for whom safeguarding concerns or enquiries (an investigation) was opened during this period.

The report can be found here 

The Norfolk Adult Safeguarding Board has completed a benchmarking exercise using the report and the results can be found here.

Dance to Health sessions start in Norfolk in January

If you are an older person who has had a fall or is worried about falling, Dance to Health is a FREE and fun falls prevention session. No Dance experience necessary!

Why not pop along to the taster sessions in Norwich on:

1/ Bowthorpe Care Village – Friday 15th December, 10am-12noon
2/ Bob Carter Centre - Monday 8th January, 10.30am-12.30pm
3/ Harford Community Centre - Wednesday 10th January, 10am-12noon
4/ The Costessey Centre - Thursday 11th January, 10am-12noon
5/ Norman Centre - Thursday 11th January, 2-4pm
6/ Roxley Hall - Friday 12th January, 2-4pm
Weekly sessions start from the middle of January 2018.

Please don't ask your doctor for 'over the counter' medicines

People in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged not to ask their doctor for everyday medicines like paracetamol as part of a new campaign.

Norfolk and Waveney’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are asking GPs not to routinely prescribe ‘over the counter medicines’ for some common conditions, unless in exceptional clinical circumstances.

Instead, people are being encouraged to buy them at a pharmacy or shop so that the NHS can spend the money it would otherwise cost on other areas of healthcare. If more people self-care for minor ailments, it could also free up important appointment time at GP practices.

Your GP appointment - keep it or cancel it

GPs across central Norfolk are reminding patients who have booked an appointment to keep it or cancel it.

Everyone knows that GPs and practice nurses are really busy. They try to offer as many appointments as possible on the day, or to suit each patient.
But if people fail to show, it means someone else could have had that appointment.

Added up, the number of minutes attributed to ‘did not attends’ by GP practices in central Norfolk equates to something like 7 doctors a year.