While we are all staying at home it can be difficult to know what to do if you need medical help or advice, but local doctors want to remind you that there are a range of services and support available.
Dr Andrew Holden, a GP, said: “While we are all working differently to support the NHS respond to coronavirus, there is support available this bank holiday weekend; whether you have a physical or mental health need.
“It is still really important for us all to stay at home to help protect ourselves and those around us, as well as helping the NHS save lives.
“But please remember that we are here for you - do get in touch with us if you are feeling unwell or are worried about a child or someone you care for, and we can find the right way to support you.
“If you have a high temperature, a continuous cough and think you may have coronavirus, please do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or hospital. The most up to date advice on treating symptoms is available on the NHS website www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19. If you need further support, please visit the 111 online coronavirus service or call 111 if you can't get help online.”
GP practices will be working together to ensure that people living in all areas can access primary care on the Early May Bank Holiday (Friday 8 May) if they need to.
For the Isle of Wight, residents are asked to call NHS 111 instead of their surgery on the bank holiday.
Dr Holden added: “We know it can be difficult not seeing family and friends and the coronavirus outbreak is impacting us all differently, so it is really important we take care of our wellbeing. The NHS Every Mind Matters website has lots of useful resources for looking after your wellbeing at home, including support for parents. Solent Mind has also set up a coronavirus wellbeing hub with lots of useful resources.
“If you do need mental health support, you can access specialist help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by contacting NHS 111 online or phoning 111.
“If you are under the care of mental health services, you should continue to contact your care team as usual. In life-threatening emergencies, where there is a danger to yours or someone else's life, always call 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.”
If you aren't sure who to contact for medical help or advice, the NHS 111 service is available 24/7 online at www.111.nhs.uk or by phoning 111.
Dr Holden concluded: “The NHS is still here for you this bank holiday and we are working hard to make sure everyone is able to receive the care they need during these difficult times. In particular continue to look out for possible early signs of cancer: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms.
“Please do continue to seek support if you need it, particularly in a serious or life threatening situation. The 999 service and our Emergency Departments remain open and able to treat people who need the specialist lifesaving care they provide.
“In a serious or life-threatening emergency, such as loss of consciousness, severe bleeding that can't be stopped, signs of a stroke, chest pain or major trauma you should always call 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.”
Pharmacists are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the pandemic. Please treat staff with respect. They are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need. Most pharmacies will be open on the bank holiday Friday – please call ahead before visiting to check opening hours. Details of which pharmacies are open and their opening hours are available here. You can find your local pharmacy at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search and you can learn more about visiting pharmacies and collecting medicines below.
If you have a prescription to collect:
- If you are shielding, aged 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for help with delivery
- Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to ensure they have seen you pick up the bag
- If your medicines are being delivered ensure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.
For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
If you need dental advice, call your usual dental practice if they are open or contact 111 while they are closed, and the team can find the right support for you.
Mental health support
Urgent Treatment Centre
Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) can help with a number of conditions including:
- cuts and grazes
- sprains and strains
- broken bones or fractures
- bites and stings
- infected wounds
- minor head injuries
- minor eye problems.
The Isle of Wight Urgent Treatment Centre, in St Mary's Hospital, will be open. It is not a walk-in – people needing advice or care should call NHS 111 in the first instance, and appointments can be made – if appropriate – at the UTC.
Support helpline for vulnerable Islanders
A helpline has been set up to support our most vulnerable residents affected by coronavirus self-isolation measures.
You can call 01983 823 600 between 9am and 5pm, 7 days a week.
This phone number is for anyone
- who needs help because of self-isolation
- who is alone and needs support
- who feels vulnerable
Isle of Wight Council and voluntary networks have worked together to provide this helpline to ensure those that need assistance are supported.