Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) says the number of admissions to Bedford’s A&E over Christmas were down from previous years, as people are checking with NHS111, pharmacies and Putnoe Walk-In Centre beforehand.
However, while A&E attendance figures for 2018’s festive period were lower, the New Year’s cold weather has seen lots of colds and bugs beginning to spread so health services are starting to see increasing in patient numbers.
Demand is expected to increase further with the worst of the winter weather still to come, so the public is being reminded they should first consult their local pharmacist or call NHS111 for non-urgent health problems.
Anyone with a minor illness or injury is also being encouraged to visit the local NHS walk-in centre in Putnoe. Here you can see a nurse or doctor without an appointment seven days a week, 8am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm at weekends.
Sally Adams, BCCG Chief Operating Officer says recent campaigns to get people checking with NHS111 or pharmacists before they attend a GP or Bedford Hospital are working: “We were well prepared for an extremely busy festive season but it appears people are heeding our message about using health services responsibly.
“Pharmacists are highly experienced healthcare professionals who can advise on the treatment options for a wide range of minor health conditions and can often help you avoid having to visit your GP.”
BCCG says that if you are feeling unwell you can also speak to trained NHS staff by calling NHS111.
This service is free and available 24/7 and can even connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or a GP to arrange face-to-face appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre or out of hours service. Just dial 111 from any phone.
To contact the local NHS walk-in centre in Putnoe, call 01234 319992 for more info.