More appointments are now available across Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) for people who need urgent help or advice at this busy time for the NHS.
GPs in BHR have seen more patients this winter but remain very busy. To ensure people can access the help they need, NHS commissioners are making more urgent, same-day appointments available at local GP hubs for those who can’t be seen at their own practice.
Some daytime slots are available, alongside those on weekday evenings and at weekends.
Booking an appointment is also being made easier. You can call NHS 111 at any time of day or night or contact the GP hubs call centre on 020 3770 1888. The call centre is now open from 12pm to 9pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 6pm at weekends.
In Redbridge, extra daytime appointments are also currently available at Loxford Polyclinic. These can be booked by calling NHS 111. The walk-in service at the Ilford Lane site remains open from 8am to 8pm for those who prefer to walk in and wait to be seen.
The key message from GPs is that if you are feeling unwell, don’t wait until you feel worse.
Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy without having to make an appointment. Pharmacists can offer advice on how to look after yourself at home with rest and over-the-counter treatments.
If you need medical help quickly but your condition is not life-threatening, you can call NHS 111 free at any time. GPs, nurses and pharmacists can provide high-quality assessments, advice and treatment over the phone. They can also book you an appointment with the most appropriate NHS service if you need one, or prescribe medicines over the phone.
Nearly one in five people admit attending A&E knowing their health problem is not a real emergency, often because they can’t see a GP quickly or don’t know where else to go.
Choosing the right NHS service ensures that you get the help you need more quickly, while allowing local A&E teams to focus on patients who require emergency care.
Dr Jagan John, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care for the BHR clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Chair of Barking and Dagenham CCG, said: “This is a really busy time of year for the NHS. If you start to feel unwell, don’t wait until it gets more serious. There’s lots of help available from the NHS, so seek advice and help us to help you to stay well.
“When you’re feeling ill, the last thing you want to do is try to work out where you should go for treatment, or sit for hours in a waiting room before being seen. To get quick advice and treatment for minor health concerns, all you need to do is phone NHS 111.
“Going to the right place ensures you get the help you need as quickly as possible, and it helps free up A&E and the 999 service for people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses.”
For more information on where to go for urgent health advice or care in BHR, call NHS 111 or visit the website for Barking and Dagenham CCG, Havering CCG or Redbridge CCG.