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Health leaders in Somerset are asking the people of Somerset to love their NHS this February by choosing the right service when you need care.

Winter may be coming to a close as we enter February, but services are still extremely busy and we still see many acutely unwell patients coming to our hospitals at this time of year, many with conditions that are aggravated by the cold and wet weather.

Dr Helen Thomas, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “I would ask that before visiting A&E, people consider whether there is a service better suited to their health needs. Think about using the information on the NHS website, calling NHS 111 or visiting your pharmacy for health advice. Don’t spend hours and hours waiting in A&E for something you may be able to treat at home or with help from the pharmacist or your GP.

“A&E is only intended to be for serious, life-threatening conditions such as severe bleeding, heart attacks, badly broken bones and other traumatic, life-threatening injuries. We have urgent care and minor injury units to help you with non-serious injuries such as cuts, sprains, scalds and minor eye injuries. So please make sure you are using the right service – this will help us to help you get the right care, in the right place and at the right time, while making sure that those in need of emergency medical treatment are seen as quickly as possible.”

Somerset is also increasing the availability of appointments at GP practices in the evenings and at weekends so that you can access an appointment when you need to.

Helen added: “If you call 111 at the weekend and the advisers think you should be seen by a GP or nurse, they will direct you to the nearest appropriate venue for a face-to-face appointment. Unregistered patients are also welcome.

“Choosing the right service is the best way you can show some love to your NHS this Valentine’s Day and will help us to help you.”