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Make sure you Choose Well

Every year, a large number of patients turn up at A & E departments without having any serious ailments.  Many of these patients could avoid attending A & E and be treated more quickly by their GP, their local pharmacist, a local Minor Injuries Unit, or even self care at home by using over the counter medicine and getting plenty of rest.  Choosing Well ensures you receive the best possible treatment, leaving emergency services free to deal with those who need them most. 
‘Choose Well’ will help you decide if you need medical attention, what each NHS service does, and when it should be used, eg:
Remember, if you need any extra advice contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk
Take some time to find out more about the variety of healthcare services that are available to you and what they can offer.  Some of the links below will also take you to the Choose Well or NHS Direct Wales websites for additional information:
Self care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries, such as a hangover, cuts and grazes, sore throat, coughs and colds, headaches or diarrhoea.
Some useful additions to your medicine cabinet include:
~  painkiller tablets, and equivalent liquids (eg Calpol for children)
~  mild laxatives to relieve constipation
~  rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting
~  indigestion remedy
~  tweezers to remove splinters and scissors to cut bandages
~  a thermometer to check for fever
~  a range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor
    cuts, sprains and bruises 
Pharmacist:  Often many ailments and queries can be dealt with by your local Pharmacist offering a quick and easy remedy. Visit your local pharmacist for expert advice on specific health issues, eg coughs and colds, the morning after pill, skin conditions/allergies. 
More examples of ailments for which you can visit your pharmacist are in the 'moodle' alongside.     
Check out the Pharmacy Rotas for the Christmas and New Year period.
Dentist: Visit your dentist for regular check ups, planned routine treatment and emergency care.  If you are not registered with a dentist and need urgent treatment, call the Dental Helpline - 01633 488389.
Optician: Visit your optician for eye problems such as: blurred vision, difficulty seeing well or discomfort, eg red eyes, irritated eyes, itchy eyes, watery eyes or sticky eyes.
GP Practice or Gwent Out of Hours GP Service: Your local General Practitioner (GP) provides a wide range of family health services including: 
~  Advice on health problems
~  Vaccinations
~  Examinations and treatment
~  Prescriptions for medicine
~  Referrals to other health services
~  Referrals to Social Services
Your GP surgery should offer an appointment to you within 2 days and many surgeries now have extended hours.  If your GP surgery is closed, contact the GP Out of Hours Service on 0845 600 1231 for urgent medical problems or illnesses which cannot wait until usual surgery opening times.
Call NHS Direct Wales if you are too ill to wait until your GP surgery is open.  Call 0845 46 47 for 24 hour confidential healthcare advice.
Call the nearest Minor Injuries Service if you or a member of your family suffers a minor injury, for instance:
~  An injury to the hands, neck or face
~  A wound that might need stitching
~  A suspected broken bone
~  Injuries where there has been no loss of consciousness, if a person has lost consciousness   please go to A&E or call 999. 
You do not need an appointment and waiting times are shorter than A & E. However, if you are unsure whether you should attend a Minor Injuries Unit, then please call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.
~  severe difficulty in breathing, swallowing or talking
~  if someone is unconscious
~  suspected stroke or heart attack
~  head injuries, fractures or wounds requiring stitches
~  any suspicion of self harm, or any suspicion of Non Accidental Injury to a child
Please remember to use emergency services responsibly.  Choosing Well  ensures you receive the best possible treatment, leaving emergency services free to deal with those who need them most.

Last updated: 06 November 2013