Local Health Board makes summer holiday appeal

By Lucy Ashton

You may well get sunburned if you are careless. Or sick if you swallow a mouthful of something unpalatable while swimming in a river or the sea. Or even cut your foot while you are in for a paddle.

If you are walking in the beautiful hills around the Bonnie Banks you could have a fall and injure yourself. You could even fall off your bike or get burned at a barbecue. Holiday time is a time to look after yourself.

But NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging people not to let an unnecessary trip to A&E ruin their summer – by getting familiar with the benefits of the Virtual A&E system.

With school summer holidays under way or about to start this week, and universities and colleges already finished for the year, people across the country will be heading for the great outdoors – and with that comes a rise in activity-related injuries and mishaps.

But NHSGGC is reminding everyone that physical A&E departments are often not the best place to go for help, and that calling 111 to access Virtual A&E is in most cases the best way to access the care they need.

Or if you are not as bikewise as Karen Hood, you could fall off your bike and get injured.

Virtual A&E – or the Flow Navigation Centre (FNC) as it is also known – is staffed by advanced nurse practitioners and provides patients with urgent video (or telephone) consultations, giving them direct access to clinicians without having to attend a physical A&E.

When patients call 111, the team provides advice and treatment, and more than a third of callers avoid a physical trip to an A&E or Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) altogether, while others receive a scheduled arrival time at an MIU which helps minimise any waiting time at hospital.

This service allows patients to be seen from the comfort of their own home – and as well as making care simpler for patients it also eases pressure on hard-pressed A&E staff.

Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical for Acute Services at NHSGGC, said: “After the last few difficult years, when NHS services have been under unprecedented pressure, the arrival of the sun this year seems more welcome than ever.

“There are few things more satisfying than taking time to relax and spending time with friends and family, enjoying a barbecue or heading into the great outdoors.

“Summer is a time to enjoy being together and savour the very best that Scotland has to offer – but if things do go wrong and someone in your family hurts themselves, we equally want you to know how best to access the help you need, so that you don’t ruin your summer by spending hours in A&E if you don’t need to be there.”

If you think you need medical help, you are encouraged to contact your GP in the first instance, or make use of your local pharmacy or NHS Inform.

If you think you need urgent assistance, please call NHS24 on 111 to access the Virtual A&E. They will ensure you receive the care most appropriate for your needs.

NHSGGC reminds everyone that they should only call 999 or visit A&E if their condition is life-threatening.

:: For more about the best ways to access care, go to NHS Inform. Top picture: Even if you are on holiday at a fabulous pool such as this one in Portugal, you could still have an accident. Take care out there.

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