8th January 2020
People across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) are being urged to ensure they access the most appropriate NHS service to meet their needs this winter.
The first few weeks of January are traditionally the busiest in the year for our local NHS services and 2020 looks no different, with demand as high as ever in the first days of the new year.
Bedford, Luton and Dunstable and Milton Keynes hospitals are already reporting a high number of patients attending their accident and emergency departments with illnesses that could be better treated elsewhere.
Local NHS organisations are calling on local people to “help us help you” by using the right services at the right times to ensure every patient gets the fastest, most appropriate care.
As well as more appointments being made available at GP surgeries during core hours, evenings and weekends to patients across BLMK there are also a number of other options available to people in need of care, including trained health experts offering 24/7 online and telephone support at NHS 111 and local pharmacies across the region ready to provide help and advice on a number of illnesses.
For minor illnesses such as colds, coughs and sore throats, it is best to see a local pharmacist who can offer advice and over-the-counter remedies. Pharmacists will be happy to assist you there and then with a free consultation.
Find your local pharmacy here.
If you are unsure about which service you might require, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week either over the phone or online at www.111.nhs.uk. Fully trained advisors will assess your symptoms, provide healthcare advice and if required arrange medical help.
If patients are in need of urgent care but their condition is not life-threatening, they can visit their local urgent care centre which is available for urgent advice and treatment for illness, infections and injuries.
To find your nearest urgent care centre, click here.
For more information on how to stay healthy this winter, visit the NHS Website here.
To families of all our patients, we wanted to give a reminder that sadly, at both Bedford and the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, we are still unable to allow any visitors on site, unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are receiving palliative treatment at the end of their lives, on a case-by-case basis.
At Bedford we will call one designated member of family every day between 1.30pm and 4.30pm with a daily phone update. Those who miss a call back during this time and are concerned can contact the helpline on 01234 730500.
For the Luton & Dunstable, we are offering a dedicated Next of Kin helpline for family members who want to check up on their loved ones – please nominate one family member to call 01582 718884 between 8am and 6pm.