Think which service
If you need support or medical assistance, our local health and care professionals are ready and waiting to provide you with the right help, at the right time, in the right place. All you need to know is which service best suits your needs.
We have put together a guide to help you ‘think which service’. By knowing where to go, you’ll get the right advice, support and treatment as quickly as possible.
Remember, 999 and A&E are for emergency, life-threatening illnesses only.
The dark nights and cold mornings make it easy to curl up on the sofa in front of the TV and forget about looking after ourselves. But by taking small steps during the colder months, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones well this winter.
Here are some self-help and self-care tips for taking care of yourself and looking out for others:
- Get your COVID-19 and flu vaccinations if you are eligible
- Keep active, get outside and eat well
- Build your strength, balance, and coordination, and wear shoes or slippers with a good grip to help prevent falls. (See Elevate strength and balance classes in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin)
- Your local authority offers a range of support and services to keep you healthy and well: Healthy Shropshire | Shropshire Council Healthy Telford - Telford & Wrekin Council
- Keep warm and heat regularly used rooms in your house to 18c
- If you are worried about money, struggling to pay bills or buy food, contact your local council for support: gov.uk/cost-of-living or telford.gov.uk/costofliving
- Check in on older or unwell neighbours, friends and family members
- Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with painkillers, rehydration and indigestion treatments, anti-diarrhoea medicine, antiseptic cream and antihistamines, and a First Aid Kit
- Stay at home if you do get ill and wash your hands regularly
- Contact NHS 111 online or by phone if you’re worried about any symptoms
Think vaccinations for complete protection
Flu and COVID-19 cases will likely increase over the winter months, so getting vaccinated will stop you and others around you from becoming seriously unwell.
If you or a child or adult you care for are eligible for a vaccination, it’s important you book an appointment without delay.
Free flu vaccines are available to:
- pregnant women
- anyone aged 50 and over
- people with a weakened immune system or long-term health condition
- are a frontline health care worker or social care staff
They can be booked via your GP or nearby pharmacy. However, anyone can also book a flu jab at their closest pharmacy retailer.
You will be eligible for your COVID-19 boosters if:
- you’re aged 50 or over
- are pregnant
- have a weakened immune system or live/care for someone who does
- have a long-term health condition or live/care for someone who does
First, 2nd and 3rd booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are also available to anyone who hasn’t had them.
You can find out more about your COVID-19 and Flu vaccination eligibility here.
Think mental health services
It’s ok and normal for your mental health to change depending on how you are feeling and what is happening in your daily life.
If you have been feeling low or suffering from depression and/or anxiety for a prolonged period, reach out to someone you know or one of your local services for help.
People living in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin can access mental health services, including:
- NHS 111 select mental health
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis (something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed, or worried about your mental health), you can now contact your local crisis service in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin by calling NHS 111 and selecting the mental health option.
Your mental health needs will then be assessed by someone who will be able to listen to your concerns and help you get the support you need. They can offer advice over the phone, put you in contact with crisis services or refer you to most appropriate service.
You can call for yourself, or someone else. NHS 111 is for all ages, including children and young people and those with neurodevelopmental needs.
Talking therapies are effective and confidential treatments delivered by fully trained and accredited practitioners. They can help with common mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.
- A mental health crisis line: 0808 196 4501 (open 24/7)
If you’re in a mental health crisis, call the crisis line anytime of the day or night, and we can arrange for you to speak with a mental health professional. We can also advise you about other services which can help you.
These services are free and do not require a referral.
If you or someone you’re with has a medical problem that isn’t life-threatening but requires immediate help, NHS 111 will get you assessed and directed to the right place 24/7, 365 days a year. Without the wait times.
By ringing 111 or visiting NHS 111 online, you help keep GP appointments and A&E free for those who need them most.
When to use NHS 111
Ring 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk:
- 24/7, 365 days a year for fast and simple access to a range of medical advice
- If you or someone you’re with has a medical problem or issue that isn’t life-threatening but you need advice on where to go
- If you think you may require an emergency face-to-face appointment with a relevant healthcare professional
- If you need help with getting a repeat prescription or an emergency supply
- If you require an emergency dental
- If you need mental health assistance
Where will NHS 111 direct you to?
NHS 111 can give you advice and help for dealing with your symptoms, arrange for you to speak to a relevant healthcare professional, organise face-to-face appointments, and provide you with information on how to get a repeat prescription and where to get an emergency supply from.
They will also send you an ambulance if they think you need it.
NHS 111 'press option 2' for mental health
You can now access help via NHS 111 if you are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed, or worried about your mental health.
If you're living with active suicidal thoughts or feel you are in immediate danger, call 999 for emergency services or ask someone to call 999 for you or take you to A&E.
Think community pharmacy for over-the-counter medications and day-to-day ailments
If you or your family become unwell, you may not always need to see a doctor or get a prescription. Local pharmacies offer many of the same services local GPs do.
Community pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can offer expert advice on lots of minor ailments and conditions.
With longer opening hours than GPs, your local community pharmacy can give you the answers and medicine you need to start feeling better.
What common conditions can a pharmacist help with?
Speak to your local community pharmacist in confidence, without an appointment about:
- Coughs, colds and the flu
- Aches, pains & minor injuries
- Oral contraception*
- Skin rashes and allergies
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)*
- Ear and eye care
- Stomach aches such as constipation, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, or threadworm
- Help with medication and repeat prescriptions
- Advice on healthy living – how to eat better, lose weight, exercise and stop smoking
*All community pharmacists can provide advice and support, only some can offer prescribed treatment. Find a local pharmacy that offers the services you need here.
Benefits from your pharmacy
- You don’t need to make an appointment to see your pharmacist.
- Your local pharmacy may have a consultation room allowing for privacy.
- By visiting a pharmacist first, it helps to make more GP and emergency appointments available for people with more complex healthcare needs.
- Many illnesses can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and advice from your pharmacy.
- A pharmacist will signpost you quickly to the right medical care if you have anything more serious.
- A pharmacist can advise on how long you can expect to experience symptoms for.
To check your local community pharmacy's Bank Holiday opening times, please click here.
Think Clinical Pharmacists for all things relating to medicines in GP Practices
Clinical pharmacists in GP practices work as part of the team. They provide:
- structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems
- treatment of patients with long-term conditions such as hypertension or diabetes
- improvement of patients’ safety by ensuring appropriate monitoring of treatments
- help with side-effects if your medicine is making you feel bad
- advice and support to make changes to your life to help you stay well
Seeing a clinical pharmacist frees up the GP, leaving them more time to diagnose and treat patients with more complex conditions.
Most colds, coughs and sore throats will not get better with antibiotics and cannot be treated by your GP. However, you should see your GP if persistent, recurring problems are not improving with self-care.
You should also see your GP for:
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss
- Constant fatigue and unexplained tiredness
- Persistent cough
- Yellowing skin
- Sudden, blinding headaches or migraines
- A new or growing mole
- A persistent high fever
- Changes in bowel movements
Extended healthcare teams are now supporting patients in GP practices across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.
With demand on primary care increasing, GP practices are working differently to offer more appointments for their patients.
To help manage this demand on services, local GP practice teams now include a range of healthcare professionals who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in the areas they specialise in and can diagnose and treat a variety of health conditions.
The different healthcare professionals that make up extended healthcare teams includes:
- General practice nurses
- Advanced nurse practitioners
- Healthcare assistants (HCAs)
- Clinical pharmacists (practice based)
- Paramedic Practitioners
- Social prescriber
- Physician associates
- GP registrars
- Health and wellbeing coaches
- Mental health practitioners.
You can find out a bit more about these different roles and how they can help you here.
If you’ve hurt yourself, had a fall, burnt yourself or are suffering from another non-life-threatening issue, the Minor Injury Unit is a fast and effective way of getting treated without the long wait in A&E.
Your local MIUs have a team of nurses, Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) and support staff to get you the help you need, fast.
By visiting your local MIU, you help keep A&E free for those who need it most.
When to use a Minor Injury Unit
Without the long wait times in A&E, your local MIU can treat you for:
- Bites, human and animal
- Cuts and lacerations
- Foreign bodies in the eyes, nose and ears
- X-ray and fractures that require plaster only (Ages 5 years and above)
- Minor burns and scalds
- Minor head injuries (with no loss of consciousness)
- Soft tissue injuries, for example, sprains and bruises
- Wound infections
This is a self-referral walk-in service for people of any age.
However, your GP or other healthcare professional may refer you to an MIU. Likewise - if your condition cannot be dealt with at an MIU, they will refer you to your GP, the nearest A&E or another appropriate service.
Where are MIUs located?
MIUs are located at our community hospitals in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Whitchurch, and Oswestry Health Centre. For opening times, please visit: Minor injury units in Shropshire (shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk)
Our emergency departments are open 24 hours a day if you have a life-threatening emergency.
Please keep 999 and A&E free for genuine life-threatening emergencies and use NHS 111 online or by phone or a minor injury unit for other urgent care needs.
When to dial 999 or go to A&E:
- Signs of a heart attack
- Signs of a stroke
- Sudden confusion
- Severe difficulty breathing
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe injuries
- Sudden, rapid swelling
British Sign Language (BSL) speakers can make a BSL video call to 999.
- Deaf people can use 18000 to contact 999 using text relay
For more information about When to call 999 - NHS (www.nhs.uk) or when to go to A&E: When to go to A&E - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
As pressures continue to mount on our local health and care services, knowing which service to use and when will make sure everyone in our local community gets the right help at the right time.
If more of us think about which service to use first, just like our residents did in their stories below, we’ll help free up emergency care for those who need it the most.