NHS Somerset asks the public to choose well over the week ahead

This week the NHS in Somerset is asking people to help them by choosing services wisely; helping to ease pressure on health and care and encouraging people to use the right service for their needs.

With planned industrial action by junior doctors taking place from 07:00 on Thursday 27 June until 07:00 on Tuesday 2 July the safety of patients and staff during this time is paramount.

The NHS in Somerset is committed to keeping, where possible, disruption to their services to a minimum, especially with Glastonbury Festival also taking place between 26 – 30 June.

Regardless of any industrial action taking place patients who need urgent medical care should continue to come forward, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.

Dr Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer, NHS Somerset said, “We know that services will be under pressure this week.

“The NHS in Somerset is working hard to keep people safe and to keep the disruption to its services to a minimum, but we ask people to help us to help them by choosing the right service for their needs and to take steps to keep themselves well.

“With Glastonbury Festival also taking place this week and expected warm weather, we are sharing a few reminders about simple steps people can take to look after themselves, and stay healthy and well.”

How can I stay well?

While many people enjoy warmer weather, hot weather can cause some people to become well through overheating, dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. During periods of hot weather, it is important to:

  • Keep out of the sun at the hottest time of the day, between 11am-3pm
  • If this is not possible, make sure you wear appropriate clothing, including a hat, seek shade and apply sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of fluids– water and diluted squash are good choices. Swap sugary drinks for diet, sugar free or no sugar varieties
  • Limit alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect on the body – understand the symptoms of dehydration
  • Check in on friends, family and neighbours who may be at higher risk of becoming unwell
  • Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and what to do if you or someone else has them.

You can also find information on how to stay healthy on the NHS Somerset website under staying well.

For those attending the festival – Somerset Council’s Public Health team and the UK Health Security Agency have shared some great guidance on staying safe and well.

What healthcare service should I choose?

People are reminded to use NHS services wisely to help ease pressure on the health and care sector in Somerset. Choosing the right service can help ensure that key services remain available for those who genuinely need urgent healthcare support and advice.

If you have an appointment planned on a day when there is industrial action taking place – People are advised to continue to attend as normal. If an appointment needs to be re-arranged individuals will be contacted directly by the NHS.

What services can I access?

  • People should only call 999 if it is a medical or mental health emergency. The NHS UK website has information on when to call 999  and when to go to A&E.
  • For medical care and advice: people are advised to visit 111 online first before calling 111 where you will be directed to the right healthcare service for your needs.
  • For a minor health condition: People can visit their local pharmacist. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can help with a wide range of minor health conditions. Patients in Somerset can also get treatment for seven common conditions directly from their pharmacy. This includes prescription only medicines, including antibiotics. For more information on how Pharmacy First can support you, please visit the NHS Somerset website.
  • For symptoms that won’t go away: Call your GP for symptoms that will not go away, to follow up on blood tests results and prescriptions.
  • For minor injuries or urgent but not life-threatening conditions such as sprains, fractures, and burns you can visit a local Urgent Treatment Centre . There may be times when our same day urgent care services are busy and people may need to wait a little longer to be seen.
  • Struggling with your mental health: If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available through Open Mental Health which offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need to speak to someone, please contact Mindline Somerset locally on 01823 276892 or freephone 0800 138 1692.
  • Worried about your child: Parents can also find advice and guidance on common childhood illnesses on the HANDi App which is available on Google Play and on the App store.

Industrial action updates can be found on the NHS Somerset website here and on the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust website here.