The Choose Well scheme is designed to help you know which healthcare services to call upon for different medical complaints and conditions.
The Choose well scheme’s purpose is to make sure that you get the most appropriate care and attention that you need, allowing you to receive the best medical care possible. It also frees up other parts of the healthcare system, such as your local doctor or hospital accident and emergency departments, to deal with the patients who need their care most.
Listed below are the different options you have for your healthcare, along with examples of when to use them. Following this advice will help you get the best treatment while allowing others to receive the care they need.
Minor ailments such as hangovers, upset stomachs, headaches, sore throats, colds and coughs can all be treated at home with a well stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest. If you take prescription medication for a long term health condition, don’t forget to plan ahead and make sure you have enough medication to last over bank holiday periods.
NHS 111 is a 24 hour service avialable 365 days a year. You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice, but it’s not a life-threatening situation.
Call 111 if:
NHS 111 provides an alternative source of advice for non life threatening complaints and illnesses when your GP or pharmacist is closed, and for when you are unsure which medical service you need.
Your local pharmacy offers expert advice on common health problems and illnesses. You can use your local pharmacy for conditions covered as part of the Think Pharmacy First scheme. Your pharmacist can offer advice for minor conditions and can prescribe medications for some minor ailments and illnesses. Your pharmacist can also advise you which other health service you may need to use if the condition is more serious than you initially thought.
Your GP Practice treats the majority of your healthcare needs and is usually the first point of contact for most medical issues. Everyone should be registered with a GP practice. If you are not registered you can find information about local GP practices at www.nhs.uk/service-search.
GP practices are usually open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Many now open extended hours, either earlier in the morning or in evenings. Some GP practices now open on a Saturday too. Please check with your practice for opening hours.
If you need a GP when your own practice is closed, contact the out of hours GP service – Northern Doctors Urgent Care on 0300 123 4343. This service is open 6.30pm – 8.00am on normal weekdays and 24 hours over weekends and bank holidays.
For treatment of minor illnesses or injuries without an appointment choose an NHS Walk-in Centre or Minor Injuries Unit. Children under two can only be treated at GP led walk-in centres, so ring ahead to check before you leave.
You can find details of your local walk-in centres and minor injuries units at www.nhs.uk/service-search.
Please ONLY use the 999 service for serious health emergencies which include; a major accident, broken bones, breathing problems, severe chest pains, unconsciousness, suspected stroke and severe blood loss.
There are accident and emergency (A&E) services at both Hexham and Wansbeck General hospitals in Northumberland, the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle and North Tyneside General Hospital in North Shields.