PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to look after themselves and their families, and help the NHS, by getting themselves ready for Christmas.

The presents may be under the tree and the turkey ready for the big day, but doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals are urging people to think about their health and well being as well. This includes those in at risk groups getting their flu immunisations, drinking sensibly, ordering repeat prescriptions in good time, and making sure medicine cabinets at home are appropriately  stocked ahead of the Bank Holidays.

The Choose Well guidance can also help people choose the right health service to best meet their individual needs – and to ensure emergency services are there for when we need them most. For example, did you know your local Pharmacist can give you free, confidential advice, support and treatment on a range common ailments and any emergency medicine you may need without booking an appointment? The list of common ailments can be found at http://www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/communitypharmacy

Some community pharmacies also now offer a Triage and Treat service to help you if you have had a low level injury and will save you a visit to a doctor or a hospital accident and emergency department. The types of injuries that can be treated in the pharmacy under this service without an appointment are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, sprains and strains, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns.

You can find out more information from the website, where a free mobile phone app is available, which provides a GPS facility to locate the nearest services to you, as well as information leaflets with local contact numbers www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/choosewell

You can also print out this handy list of local pharmacy opening times over the Bank Holidays: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/46867

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Assistant Director of Primary Care, and lead for Choose Well, Elaine Lorton said: “Making the right choice about which healthcare service to use helps people get treated faster in the most appropriate way, and also means health service resources are being used where they are needed most. Many of our services are provided 24/7 but some are more limited over the Bank Holidays and we would encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the key contacts before you need them.”

In a healthcare emergency which is life threatening, you should call 999 and they will take you to the Emergency Department which can best meet your needs.

If you are unwell and need to contact a GP out of hours, you should contact your usual GP phone number and will be automatically transferred to the out-of-hours service. If you don’t know where to go or what service you need, you can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 (or dial 111 if you are a patient in Carmarthenshire).

If you need any urgent dental care over the Christmas period you can contact your dental practice to access advice and care. If you do not have access to a dental practice, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 (or dial 111 if you are a patient in Carmarthenshire) where an appointment can be arranged for you if required.

For urgent social care out of hours, contact:
Carmarthenshire – 01558 824283
Ceredigion – 0845 6015392
Pembrokeshire – 08708 509508

If you are worried about the way you are feeling or behaving, or you are struggling to manage on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Speak to your GP or ring the C.A.L.L. Mental Health Helpline on 0800 132 737, text ‘help’ to 81066 or visit www.callhelpline.org.uk

Hywel Dda Health Board’s clinical lead for unscheduled care, consultant Jeremy Williams, explained: “Many people attending our Emergency Departments are very sick and are attending appropriately, but some have conditions of a lesser severity, which would be best assessed and treated by other health care providers.

The best way the public can assist the NHS is to ensure they and their families are using health services appropriately. This will mean they are seen by the most appropriate person, in the quickest time possible, avoiding delays for themselves and others, and ultimately helping us to save lives.”

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