Examine your options if you need medical help is the message from a health chief as the darker, chill autumn nights draw in.
“As we all get used to being back at work and school after the summer holidays, it’s worth remembering that there are many routes to getting medical care,” said Simon Featherstone, Director of Nursing and Quality at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.
“Coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs, general aches and pains, and flu will usually clear up on their own. Keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and, if appropriate, treat with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol.
“You should contact a GP or the GP out of hours service for help with injuries or illnesses that won’t go away.
“A&E is for people facing life-threatening and serious emergencies such as serious accidents, serious burns, breathing problems, heart attacks and strokes.
“You don’t need an appointment at A&E but we’ll make an assessment on arrival and, depending on how urgent treatment is needed, you may have to wait up to four hours. The triage nurse or clinician may also signpost you to a different health care provider such as your GP, dentist or pharmacy.
“That’s why you might be better examining your options first and choosing another NHS service – or even treating yourself.
“Alternatively, West Lancashire Health Centre at Ormskirk hospital is open from 8am to 10pm all year round. Skelmersdale NHS Walk-in Centre at The Concourse is open from 7am to 10pm weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.
“Local pharmacies and NHS Choices are also a good source of information and advice.”