THE Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding the public about the alternative help that is available across Wales before calling 999, ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday.
NHS Direct Wales, Pharmacies, GPs and Minor Injury Units are just some of the alternatives that are being highlighted to the public during the Easter break, at a time when the Welsh Ambulance Service can normally experience a higher demand in calls to its service.
NHS Direct Wales is both an online website service and 24hr telephone advice line.
Health advisors are able to advise callers or visitors on the best pathway to suitable treatment for medical conditions, give information on local NHS service opening times and help you make sure you can get your repeat prescriptions over the holiday.
A NHS Direct Wales spokesperson said: “Over the bank holiday some pharmacies may be open for limited periods or closed completely so if you take any prescribed medication it is important you order repeat prescriptions in advance. If you are going away, remember to pack enough medication for the length of your holiday.”
If you run out of your medication and need a repeat prescription, you may be able to get an emergency supply from a pharmacy that is open, which will cover your medication needs for five days if -
• It is impossible to see a doctor
• It is a genuine emergency
• It is not a controlled drug (e.g. morphine, methadone)
It is always a good idea to keep your GP Out of Hours service number to hand. If you are going to be away from home make sure you find out what health services (including GP out of hours) are available in the area.
You can also purchase over the counter remedies from your pharmacy for minor ailments after seeking advice from a pharmacist rather than making an appointment with your GP for a prescription. Before you dial 999 for an ambulance, we would ask that you remember:
• If you are feeling unwell and you are not sure what to do, please call the NHS Direct Wales service on 0845 46 47 and speak to a nurse adviser for information and advice, available 24 hours a day, every day.
• If you are deaf or hard of hearing call the NHS Direct Wales textphone number on 0845 606 46 47.
• If you have a medical emergency such as loss of consciousness, difficulty in breathing, suspected heart attack, heavy blood loss, serious injury or severe burns call 999.
• Sending an ambulance to a call that is not an emergency could delay the response to a seriously ill or injured patient.
• Patients with minor illnesses or injuries who arrive at hospital by ambulance do not receive faster treatment.