The NHS in Merseyside has launched the Examine Your Options campaign to help people choose the right health service for their needs.
It's also important that you understand the range of treatment options available to you and your family:
- Your GP is your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses, which cannot be treated yourself, and practices can offer same day appointments if necessary
- When the surgery is closed, you can still see a local GP with the GP out-of-hours service. Just contact your usual practice number and your call will be re-directed
- Walk-in centres provide treatment 365 days of the year for illnesses you cannot treat yourself. There is no need for an appointment
- Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential advice on a range of health issues and you do not need an appointment
- Remember, accident and emergency and ambulance services are for life-threatening conditions like strokes and heart attacks only.
There are lots of things you can do to stay well, and be better prepared if you do get ill:
- Keep a well-stocked medicine cupboard at home, especially through colder months. Your local pharmacy can provide you with advice on what to include
- Make sure you are up to date with repeat prescriptions, leaving plenty of time ahead of public holidays (such as Christmas and Easter)
- Visit www.nhs.uk, the largest health website in the country, for information about hundreds of health issues, and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your area
- If you are eligible for the free seasonal flu vaccination, make sure you get in touch with your GP to arrange it. Eligible groups include two to three year old children, people aged 65 and over, adults and children with long term health conditions, and pregnant women
- If you don't have a GP perhaps because you are new to the area or you are a student you can register with your local surgery. If you are not sure where this is you can find out at www.nhs.uk or call 0300 3112 233.