Six steps to help alleviate pressure on the NHS

NHS Lanarkshire is asking people to play their part by turning to the right place at the right time to help alleviate the pressures on resources.

NHS Lanarkshire director of acute services Judith Park

The health board previously highlighted the sustained and unprecedented pressures across the three acute hospitals and issued a plea for the public to keep emergency departments for those who need critical care.

Lanarkshire’s health and social care services also took the decision to prioritise urgent care for the most vulnerable.

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NHS Lanarkshire director of acute services Judith Park has highlighted six things the public can do to help.

She said: “Our health services are open and we are here if needed.

"All services in the community, GP surgeries and hospitals are currently operating differently and at different capacities due to infection prevention and control measures which is putting additional strain on services and resources.

“We must work together to make sure you get the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the appropriate health professional for your needs.”

1 – A&E department: “Attendances are at record levels with some people attending with mild and minor conditions. Our A&E department is for those who have a life-threatening emergency.

“If you think you need to attend A&E but it’s not life-threatening, call NHS 24 on 111 day or night, where you will be directed to the right NHS service.”

2 – Out of hours service/NHS 24 – “The out of hours service is not for routine appointments. An NHS 24 advisor will assess your symptoms and advise you what to do next. If you need to see a doctor or other health professional, this will be arranged for you.

“NHS 24 is available day or night but out of hours services are only for urgent health advice that cannot wait until your GP practice is open.

3 – Your local pharmacy: “There are lots of qualified experts in the community who can safely advise you.

"Your local pharmacy is your first port of call for minor ailments such as sore throats, diarrhoea or constipation, indigestion, athlete’s foot, aches and pains as well as help with your medicines.”

4 – Online resources: “Use the NHS Inform website to access advice on common symptoms, guidance for self-help and where to go if further medical care is needed.

“NHS Lanarkshire’s Meet the Experts guide offers a range of services that local healthcare professionals across Lanarkshire can provide. You can go directly to the right healthcare professional for the help you need when you need it.”

5 – Be ultra-responsive to phone call from hospitals: “There are some recent incidents where hospital staff have been unable to get through to a patient’s named contact, with delays in some calls being returned which, in turn, can cause a delay to the patient being discharged from hospital.”

6 – Finally, be kind: “All our staff continue to work extremely hard to ensure that patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible.

"The majority of the public continue to be very supportive, sadly, however, we are seeing a minority of people engaging in behaviour and attitudes that are completely unacceptable, and this will not be tolerated.”