With the winter bringing more ill-health amongst all age groups, demand on the health system is increased, with attendance at accident and emergency departments particularly affected.
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Dr. Tony Berendt, Medical Director, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Our emergency departments have been under sustained heavy pressure since Christmas, linked to a sharp increase in flu cases, particularly in older people. Whilst the situation is still manageable, it is important we all try to use emergency departments only for emergencies.”
Pete McGrane, Clinical Director at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The whole NHS system here in Oxfordshire wants to provide the right level of care, for each person who needs it, in the best place and at the right time and this is by no means always the hospital. There are good alternatives available for many of the health problems that worry us.”
What to do
If you, or someone you care for, is feeling unwell, there are a number of ways to get the right care:
• Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common winter illness and injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
• You don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist and most pharmacies have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.
• Your doctor’s surgery can advise on most health conditions. Out of hours, the NHS 111 service is an excellent first point of call for medical advice.
• Download the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s ‘Health and Care Oxfordshire’ app to your smart phone to find health services closest to where you are in Oxfordshire.
Emergency Departments (A&E) and the emergency ambulance service provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. In these cases call 999 immediately.