WILTSHIRE residents are being asked to play their part and choose the right healthcare option this bank holiday weekend.

The appeal from senior doctors comes at a time when hospitals continue to see a high number of admissions to emergency departments and urgent treatment centres.

NHS 111

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging people to think about using other services where possible like NHS 111, which can provide quick advice and a route into other services, over the phone or online, as well as local pharmacies, many of which will be open on Monday, May 3.

The NHS 111 service can be accessed for free by calling 111 from any mobile phone or landline, or by visiting 111.nhs.uk on any laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Plea to help busy NHS

Clinical chair Dr Andrew Girdher: said: “Choosing the right healthcare option not only helps people to be seen quicker and in the right environment, but it also means our busy doctors and nurses in hospital are able to focus their valuable time on the people most in need of care.

“The NHS 111 service is a fantastic asset for local people as it can literally put health and care information in the palm of your hand, as well as get you a timed arrival slot at the relevant healthcare service.

“It’s not just for use on health concerns that could require hospital treatment either, NHS 111 can help out with those less serious health problems too, which could save someone from calling one of our many GP practices which, like the hospitals, are also incredibly busy right now.”

Pressure on ambulance service

This message has been echoed by South Western Ambulance Service Trust who has urged people to contact 111 for urgent medical problems, and only to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

Operations Officer Michael Anning said: “We are asking people to behave sensibly this Bank Holiday weekend, and to think 111 for urgent medical help and advice.

“Since the stay-at-home rule was lifted, we have noticed an increase in ambulance activity, and we’ve had a number of busy days recently.

“So please only call 999 in a genuine life-threatening emergency, so we can be available for those who need us most.”

Full details of all local health and care services can be found online at bswccg.nhs.uk

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