Choose Well this Easter

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With the Easter holidays upon us, NHS Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire is reminding everyone of the health services available in the county.

Cuts, bruises, bumps and grazes are some of the most common occurrences when children are off school, most of which can be treated by self-care. It’s vital to make sure you choose the most appropriate NHS service so additional pressure is not put on our busy hospitals, so here are our top tips for a healthy Easter:

1. Where possible, self-care and remember you can always seek advice from NHS Direct which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0845 46 47, or alternatively you can visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk.

2. When the sun is shining, remember to wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, drink regularly - even if you do not feel thirsty - water or fruit juice are best, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks.

3. Remember to put on your sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 - and the higher the better. However, no sunscreen, whether it’s factor 15 or 50, will give the protection it claims unless you apply it properly, and no sunscreen can give 100 per cent protection. Sunscreen can easily be washed, rubbed or sweated off so reapply it frequently.

4. Don’t forget you can also speak to your local pharmacist, who can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints

5. Injuries that give more cause for concern such as sprains, strains, minor burns and wounds can be treated at:

Urgent Care Centre/GP out of hours service - If you live in Milton Keynes and urgently need a doctor out of normal hours, ring 01908 201022. The Urgent Care Centre is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and at weekends and bank holidays. Click here for more information about the Urgent Care Centre/GP out of hours services.

6. Your GP can help if you have an illness or injury that won’t go away. Simply contact your GP surgery for advice or treatment. Find your local GP using ‘Find your Nearest’ below. Click here for more information about your local GP Surgeries.

7. Accident & Emergency (A&E) is only for the most urgent care such as serious accidents or medical emergencies.

Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of MK Commissioning said: “We know that the Easter holidays are traditionally a busy time for the health service, and we need to ensure that people make themselves aware of the alternative services that are available.

“If you use the right service, this will not only save you time but also ensure that the busy staff at A&E can concentrate on treating the most serious cases. In 2010/11, around 12,000 people who attended A&E in Milton Keynes were sent away without requiring any treatment, at a cost of approximately £1.1m. In most instances, there are a range of alternative services you could use, including the Urgent Care Centre, GP and pharmacy.”

For more information on the range of options available, go to the Choose well area of the website: http://www.miltonkeynes-northamptonshire.nhs.uk/choose-well/