As you may be aware GP surgeries face huge pressures at the moment. We are trying to reduce the number of patients who are booking an appointment with a GP for a minor illness (such as a cough, cold or sore throat). Many minor illnesses can be managed by patients at home using medication that you can buy from a supermarket or pharmacy. This will then mean that more GP appointments will be available for those patients who really need them.
You are already used to our reception staff asking you what your symptoms are when you contact the surgery for an urgent appointment. We are only asking for more information so we can advise you on what is the most appropriate thing for you to do or if you need to see a clinician who would be most appropriate.
If you advise that you have minor symptoms that you have been suffering from for a short amount of time, we may ask you to contact your pharmacy for help, or ask you to wait until you have had your symptoms for a certain amount of time before booking an appointment or asking a GP to contact you. We will not refuse to book a GP appointment for you. If you really want to see or speak to a GP then we will arrange this, however, the GPs will be giving the same self-care advise if you are calling with a minor illness.
Self-care advice and leaflets have been produced by NHS England and are available on the next tab. To help you we are making our resources available to all patients so you can easily see what we will be checking for when you contact the surgery. Please see the self-care guide below so you easily see what symptoms we will be checking. We are hoping to reduce the number of urgent appointments that are used each day and make more GP appointments available to be booked in advance. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Self Care Symptom Guide
What is self-care?
Self-care refers to the actions we take to recognise, treat and manage our own health. It’s about doing small, everyday things for yourself to keep healthy and happy.
What are the benefits?
Self-care is good for you and for the NHS. There are lots of benefits to self-care. We believe it’s:
No need to wait for a GP appointment. You can buy the medicines you need over the counter at your local pharmacy or supermarket and have them ready to use at home.
Many treatments can be bought without the need for a prescription at your local pharmacy or supermarket, often for much less than a prescription charge.
Advice and information about self-care is widely available online. You can also call into any pharmacy for advice on the best treatment for your minor illness.
Self-care helps relieve pressures on GP practices, A&E and could potentially save the NHS around £136m every year.
Where can I go for advice?
There is lots of information now available to support self-care and to help manage minor illnesses. Here are our top suggestions:
Online self-care advice for minor illness
The NHS Website
The NHS website is the UK’s biggest health website. It has lots of advice on illnesses and how to treat them.
Pharmacists are trained professionals who are ready to give advice on the best treatment for minor conditions such as:
Cold, headaches, cold sores, head lice, conjunctivitis, heartburn, constipation, indigestion, cough, insect bites, dental pain, migraines, diarrhoea, nappy rash, dry eyes, rashes, dry skin, sore throat, earache, teething, fever, temperature, haemorrhoids, threadworm, hayfever and thrush.
Most pharmacies offer a private consultation room where they can offer confidential advice. Pharmacists can talk you through your symptoms and offer advice and reassurance about how long these may last and what to do if they continue or get worse.
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
When you call 111, an advisor will ask you some questions to help assess your symptoms. Once they have done this they will offer you advice or direct you to the best service for you in the local area.
What should I do if I am trying to self-care but my symptoms persist?
If you look your illness up on www.nhs.uk it will tell you how long symptoms normally last. If your symptoms are lasting more than you would have expected then you should seek further advice from your pharmacist or GP.
Preparing to self-care
Be prepared and stock up your medicine cabinet. These affordable key items will help when you or your family and friends are feeling under the weather.
Cold and flu remedies
Oral rehydration salts
Having some medicines at home means peace of mind.
NHS Stay Well Self-Care