The local NHS is asking people in Swindon to seek help early if they feel unwell and not wait until their condition gets worse.

A handy information leaflet with details of local healthcare services which can be accessed without an appointment has been produced, to encourage people to seek help sooner. It can be downloaded here.

This is particularly important for people over 65, young children and people with a long term conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These groups are more at risk of developing complications from minor illnesses such as coughs and colds.

Gill May, Executive Nurse, Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Often people will avoid seeking help as they know the NHS is very busy and don’t want to add to the pressure. This is the last thing we want and can often result in people ending up needing medical attention in an unplanned way.

 “We want you to seek help as soon as you start to feel unwell so we can treat your condition before it becomes more serious and you end up in hospital.”

Your local pharmacist or NHS 111 can help decide whether you need to see another healthcare professional.

NHS 111 is a free phone number to call from landlines and mobile phones 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will be asked a series of questions and offered instant advice or transferred to a doctor or nurse for further advice. They may make you an appointment at the Urgent Care Centre, or send help to you at home for example. It’s the fastest and easiest way to access urgent healthcare.

Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals, who as well as offering treatments, can advise whether you need to see another healthcare professional.

If you can't wait to see a GP, there are some great local healthcare services which don't need an appointment.

The Carfax NHS Medical Centre in Swindon town centre offers a walk-in service between 7am - 8pm, weekdays and 8am – 8pm weekends and bank holidays throughout the year.

There are minor injury units in Cirencester and Chippenham which will be able to treat minor injuries much sooner than the Emergency Department at Great Western Hospital.

There is also a dedicated phone number for parents in Swindon or young people, where they will be directed to a special children and young people’s clinic. The service is for children and young people between three months and 18 years, call 01793 646466.

 

People suffering from more serious conditions, including broken bones, severe bleeding, chest pains and breathing difficulties, should always call 999 or attend the Emergency Department at the Great Western Hospital as soon as possible.