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You may not have to spend your Christmas waiting at A and E


5:56am 23rd December 2010

Easingwold residents asked to 'Choose Well' as minor injuries service closes.

People in Easingwold are being reminded of their options when it comes to which NHS service to access ahead of the closure of the minor injuries service at St Monica's Hospital on Monday 3 January 2011.

The Board of NHS North Yorkshire and York decided to close the service after assessing its viability earlier this year. The Board also approved the proposal for minor injury services in Hambleton and Richmondshire to continue to be provided by GP practices and by hospital A&E departments.

Each year the NHS experiences high volumes of patients accessing emergency services with symptoms and injuries that could have been treated elsewhere. It's thought that around 30 per cent of patients accessing emergency health services could have sought treatment and advice from an alternative source - such as their pharmacist, NHS Direct or their GP.

Dr Phil Kirby Associate Director of Public Health for NHS North Yorkshire and York, said: "Last year we launched our Choose Well campaign to try and tackle the annual increase in pressure placed on NHS services during the winter period. This year we are continuing to support local residents in choosing the most appropriate NHS service for their health need.

"People living in North Yorkshire have access to a range of NHS treatment and advice services, such as pharmacies where you can get on-the-spot advice and treatment from a trained professional. Many of these services are available late at night and on weekends too.

"NHS Direct is another service that is often overlooked. It can provide confidential advice on treatment and is available 24 hours a day. It's a great service to use if you're unsure about what action to take and want guidance from a professional."

The initial recommendation to close the three minor injuries units was made by the Hambleton and Richmondshire Commissioning Group (HRCG) - a group of 17 GP practices in the Hambleton and Richmondshire districts of North Yorkshire.

Grahame Dickinson, Chair of the HRCG, said: "We have a duty to balance clinical issues with access to services. All GP surgeries in Hambleton and Richmondshire are funded to provide minor injuries services from 8am to 6pm during the week.

"Community hospitals have a prime responsibility to look after their in-patients who are often frail and elderly. These patients are put at risk when ward staff are called away to see minor injuries cases."  

Choose Well campaign
When it comes to getting the right treatment, knowing your options can really help to ensure that you are seen by the right person in the shortest time possible.

Visiting A&E can be the first action that springs to mind, but depending on the severity of your condition, it may be more appropriate to seek advice or treatment from an alternative source.

For example: Your local pharmacist is a trained healthcare professional and can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need. You can find your nearest pharmacy at www.nhs.uk or text the word 'pharmacy' to 64746.

NHS Direct can be contacted on 0845 46 47.

'Choosing well' ensures you are seen as quickly as possible. It also ensures that emergency services are left for people with the greatest need.

More information about Choosing Well in North Yorkshire and York can be found on our website at www.nyypct.nhs.uk

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