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Getting medical help in Lanarkshire this winter

Published: Tuesday, 07 December 2021

Getting medical help in Lanarkshire this winter

NHS Lanarkshire launch their Winter preparedness campaign

New figures showed that over 1,500 people every month who turn up at an NHS Lanarkshire emergency department could have looked after themselves at home.

NHS Lanarkshire bosses published data [note 3] showing that more than 5,000 people (of the more than 50,000) who attended emergency departments at hospitals across the region between August and October 2021, were referred straight to other services with no intervention or sent home with ‘self-care’ advice.

Some of the conditions they attended with included small cuts; earache; ankle sprain; sickness and diarrhea; trips and slips; dog/cat bites and eye problems. Instead of going to emergency departments and potentially facing very long waits to be seen, Lanarkshire residents are being urged to familiarise themselves with the wide range of NHS services in the area, where they can get help if they feel unwell.

Dr John Keaney, Acute Medical Director at NHS Lanarkshire, said:

“It is so important that the public take note of the services on offer in order to keep emergency departments free for those with emergency care needs. The new data showing that 10 per cent of emergency department attendances could have been treated at home - and that many more people were referred on to other services - shows just how vital it is that other services are used properly. And with the emergence of the Omicron variant, people are becoming more anxious about healthcare services so it’s even more important that people in Lanarkshire know where to go for the right care at the right time.”

Many common conditions, such as small cuts and bites, sprains and pain etcetera can be treated at home, with over-the-counter medications that everyone should keep at home, including antiseptic cream/spray and paracetamol/Ibuprofen.

Local community pharmacies should be the first port of call for advice about minor illnesses such as sickness and diarrhea. Pharmacies remain open, COVID-19 safe, and appointments are not usually needed. Pharmacists can also provide some medicines if required.

People can also prepare for winter by checking repeat prescriptions and supplies of essential medications.

Throughout Lanarkshire, opticians can provide care for emergency eye problems without the need to go to A&E whilst emergency dental care is also available from all local dental practices.

GP practices in Lanarkshire continue to offer phone, video and in-person consultations, so anyone with health concerns they believe requires the input of a GP, should contact their GP.

Anyone feeling in need of emotional or mental health support can find a range of help online. The new NHS Lanarkshire Mind Matters website offers a wide range of resources and information. https://www.lanarkshiremindmatters.scot.nhs.uk/

People can also call Samaritans on 116123, email jo@samaritans.org or call Breathing Space on 0800 838587 or, for more direct support, they can contact their GP or NHS24 on 111.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste, should not got to their GP surgery or local pharmacy or hospital.

Instead, they must self-isolate and arrange a test as soon as possible, by booking one at www.nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or by calling 0800 028 2816

Speaking about the services available to people in Lanarkshire, Craig Cunningham, winter planning lead for Lanarkshire said:

“Regardless of the type of illness – whether physical or mental - there’s lots of help out there. As we approach winter, this year more than ever, it is really important that people use the full range of advice, treatment and services available to them. We’re asking everyone in Lanarkshire to help keep our hospital emergency departments free for life threatening emergencies. For life threatening emergencies, always call 999. People who need urgent but not life-saving care, should call NHS 24 on 111 first - day or night – before attending A&E. NHS 24 will assess them by telephone and refer them to the right care, delivered by the right healthcare professional, as close to home as possible. This could include self-care at home or advice re the most appropriate care, e.g. pharmacy, optician, dentist, GP or minor injuries unit. We’re making sure that everyone who needs support, can get access to appropriate services.”

To find out more about the services offered by NHS Lanarkshire, visit https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/experts/

To find details of services closest to you, use the services directory on NHS Inform: www.nhsinform.scot  NHS 24 https://www.nhs24.scot/

For more information, please contact:
Devan LaBrash or Giselle Dye, Pagoda PR, on 07741 614756/07739 085023 or email NHSLanarkshire@pagodapr.com


1. NHS Lanarkshire is the third largest health board in Scotland, serving a population of 655,000 across rural and urban communities. Its aim is for everyone to live longer, healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting, and it is committed to delivering high quality, innovative health and social care that is person-centred.

2. Lanarkshire employs around 12,000 staff working in communities, health centres, clinics and offices, and at three university general hospitals – University Hospital Hairmyres, University Hospital Monklands and University Hospital Wishaw.

3. Data collected between 01 August and 31 October 2021 in NHS Lanarkshire showed that there were 52473 attendances in total to Emergency departments at the three general hospitals. Of these, 5233 people were discharged. 10% of the patients were discharged to a different service and the majority (90%) were discharged home, with Self-Care Advice.