Summer is here, so as we prepare for weekends away and summer day trips take a minute to get to know what health help is available nearby. You can use the free Health Help Now app to see opening times for pharmacies and get advice for common summer health complaints.
Gail Locock, Chief Nurse for the CCG, says: “It’s important people know where to go for advice during evenings, weekends and bank holidays. Going to the right place for minor ailments such as your local pharmacy, or being prepared to treat mild symptoms at home is usually more convenient for us, and helps our local NHS too. Making sure you have a cabinet stocked with home health essentials is the first step. Make sure you follow the instructions and dosages on medicines and never use out of date medicine.”
Home health kit guide
- Painkillers (paracetamol and ibuprofen – including infant/child versions if you have young children)
- Antihistamines – for minor allergies and hay fever in children and adults
- Sun block
- After sun
- Rehydration salts
- Throat pastilles
- Digital thermometer
- Plasters, bandages and sticking tape
- Antiseptic lotion, cream or spray
- Anti-diarrhoea tablets
- Indigestion treatments
“We should all have basic over the counter medicines at hand for when we need them,” she said. “Make sure you have enough of your regular prescription medicine too. Get your repeat prescription early to make sure you don’t run out over the bank holiday weekend.”
It can guide you to the best service for your symptoms, and tell you the nearest NHS services that are open during evenings, weekends and bank holidays, including pharmacies. If you don’t have internet access or a smartphone, and need health help when it’s not an emergency, NHS 111 can give you free health advice, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Just dial 111.
The pharmacy can be the first port of call for many people who feel unwell.
Gail added: “Your local pharmacist is a medicines expert who can advise on the best way to treat colds, coughs, sore throats, hay fever, verrucas, digestive problems and more, and you probably won’t need a prescription as many over-the-counter medicines are readily available for these conditions.”
Patients living in or visiting Swale can visit the Sheppey NHS GP Walk in Centre at Sheppey Community Hospital, Plover Road, Minster on Sea from 8am to 8pm, every day, or the Medway GP Walk in Centre at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre, Balmoral Gardens, Gillingham which is open from 8am to 8pm, every day. No appointment is needed.
For emergency dental care, contact your own dentist first. At evenings, weekends and bank holidays (8.30am to 1.25pm) you can call DentaLine on 01634 890300.
For people with mental health issues, free confidential emotional advice and guidance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the Mental Health Matters helpline on 0800 107 0160. The Samaritans are also there to listen at any time of day or night and can be reached by dialling 116 123.
If you suffer a minor injury, trained nurses at minor injury units (MIUs) across Kent can assess and treat cuts, sprains, minor burns, minor dislocations of the fingers and toes, minor eye injuries and remove foreign bodies from, for example, ears and noses. MIUs cannot treat babies under one year old. MIUs are open every day of the year. You can find minor injury units at the following hospitals.
Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital: Bell Road, Sittingbourne, ME10 4DT. Phone: 01795 418300. Open 9am to 9pm, every day of the year.
Sheppey Community Hospital: Plover Road, Minster, ME12 3LT. Phone: 01795 879100. Open 9am to 9pm, every day of the year.
Gravesham Community Hospital: Bath Street, Gravesend, DA11 0DG. Phone: 01474 360816. Open 8am to 8pm, every day of the year.
If you have chest pains or your injury or medical problem is a life-threatening emergency, call 999.
To find out more about choosing the right service for you, visit the NHS Choices website.