NHS renews appeals for the public’s help as services remain exceptionally busy

The local NHS today renewed its appeal for people to choose the right service for non-urgent care amid rising demand in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire.

Derek Sandeman, Chief Medical Officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “The NHS will always be there for people, but we are facing particularly high demand for its services at present.

“Our health and care teams continue to work amazingly - and incredibly hard to provide safe, high quality care for everyone.

“We are again asking for people to help us to help them, including choosing ways to get the most appropriate service for their needs.

“I know it can be frustrating when trying to make an appointment, or if you are waiting for a call back, when things are busy. But please be patient and be respectful to our staff. 

“To help manage the impact on our services, we are asking for people to consider what is the most appropriate service for their needs – and, if they are not sure, contact NHS 111 online for help and advice on where to go.”

Some simple tips are:

Get vaccinated to help yourself and others

If you are 18 or over, get your COVID-19 booster jab. It’s not too late to get your first or second dose either. More information on how to access the jab in Hampshire and Isle of Wight is available here.

Remember the Emergency Department (ED) is for emergencies

Hospital Emergency Departments and 999 are really busy and must be kept for emergencies. GP surgeries are busy too. Pharmacies can help with concerns about minor illness; Urgent Treatment Centres around the area can see injuries, including limb fractures. Try these ahead of ED or GP or contact 111 online if you are unsure.

If you or someone you know needs urgent care but it is not a life-threatening emergency contact 111 first

Contact 111 online for urgent care and trained staff will help you find the service you need or advise you on what to do. They can even book you an appointment slot if you need one so you know exactly when to attend – all arranged quickly and easily from the safety and the comfort of your own home. 

Urgent treatment centres are best for minor injuries
Minor injuries or illnesses don’t need the Emergency Department. You’ll be seen more quickly, by trained experts, at one of our many urgent treatment centres, such as Gosport and Petersfield, or minor injuries units for aches, sprains, strains, wound infections and even limb fractures. NHS 111 can even book you in if you contact them first.

Expert help on every high street…

Your high street pharmacist is a highly qualified expert who can help you with concerns about minor illnesses, medicines or other wellbeing advice. They can put your mind at rest very quickly, or point you in the direction of someone who can help should you need it.

Your GP practice has online access and a range of expert help…

GP practices are very busy and will often triage requests to ensure that they prioritise people according to need. Using eConsult or your practice’s online contact service helps the practice clinician get you the right help at the right time, including experts in the team to see you quickly.

Things you can do to help yourself…

Keeping some everyday medicines and painkillers in a safe place at home can be really useful for dealing with minor bugs and illnesses like colds, stomach upsets and the occasional hangover. For the conditions you can manage at home, there are some great tips here.

Online help – and contact services online if you can

The NHS has other great resources online to help you check symptoms and get advice. Try www.nhs.uk for health and medicines advice and Healthier Together www.what0-18.nhs.uk/ if you are concerned about an unwell child.