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 at Petersfield and the primary care lead for NHS Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, 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. For all other areas of Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton, people should simply contact their practice by calling or using the online eConsult service, and they will be able to access advice over the phone, by video consultation or a face to face appointment if that is required. If someone does require a face to face appointment this may not take place at their usual practice, but this will be explained to you when the appointment is made.
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 and the Mental Health Triage Service can find the right support for you.
“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.”
The following services are also available to help you and the family stay well.
- A number of pharmacies will be open in each area to provide prescriptions and essential over-the-counter medication. People are advised to check opening times before travelling. 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 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.
- Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) and Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can provide urgent care for minor injuries such as minor burns, sprains and strains and minor head injuries. The services which are open over the bank holiday are listed at the foot of this news release.
- Support is also available for people who are vulnerable or shielding, do not have support from families, friends or their local community and who may need urgent assistance with practical issues. Find out more in the helplines available below.
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.”
Additional local service information:
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.
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.
Mental health support
As well as the support outlined above, local services are also available. If you aren’t sure what to do or who to contact, contact the 111 service online or over the phone.
- Solent Mind continues to adapt services to provide remote support for both new and existing service users. Their website www.solentmind.org.uk contains a Coronavirus resource hub and they also have a helpline open from 10am - 2pm Monday to Friday (including the bank holiday Friday 8 May) – call 023 8017 9049.
- In Southampton, adults in a mental health crisis or emotional distress can text LIGHTHOUSE and their postcode to 07451 276010 between 4.30pm and 12am to access the Lighthouse service. Find out more at https://www.southernhealth.nhs.uk/locations/thelighthouse.
Although these services may not be available over the phone over the bank holiday, in many areas you can refer yourself online and many services have useful resources and information on their websites:
- Southampton - Steps 2 Wellbeing http://www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk 0800 612 7000
- Hampshire – iTalk https://www.italk.org.uk 023 8038 3920
Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units
Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) and minor injuries units (MIUs) can help with a number of conditions including those below but you are advised to call ahead before attending.
- cuts and grazes
- sprains and strains
- broken bones or fractures
- bites and stings
- infected wounds
- minor head injuries
- minor eye problems.
Southampton – the Royal South Hants Urgent treatment Centre (0333 999 7613), on the site of the Royal South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, is currently only dealing with injuries – not minor illnesses. The service is open 8am - 8pm daily. For an updated list of what it treats, visit https://www.royalsouthhantsutc.nhs.uk
Support for people who are vulnerable
If you need support while you stay at home and are vulnerable or shielding and do not have support from family or friends, there is help available to support you.
- For Southampton, contact the Community Support Hub on 023 8083 4800, 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday including the bank holiday
- In Hampshire, Hantshelp4vulnerable can be contacted on 0333 370 4000, seven days a week from 9am-5pm