Making the Right Choice about Your Health
Where should I go if I am ill?
There are many services that can help you if you are ill – this information will help to point you in the right direction.
1. Self Care
The most important person in the National Health Service is you! We want you to be healthy and self care is an important part of health care. The Self Care Forum provides good advice on how to look after yourself – go to www.selfcareforum.org and look at the Patient Portal.
NHS 24 has a self help guide at www.treatyourselfbetter.co.uk/. You can also phone NHS 24 to speak to someone about a health problem on 111 twenty-four hours a day.
A Health A-Z is at www.nhsinform.co.uk or you can phone them on 0800 22 44 88 for advice.
2. Common illnesses or advice on medicines
Your pharmacist can give you advice and treatment for many illnesses such as:
- Athlete’s Foot
- Cold Sore
- Dry Eyes
- Earache and Ear Wax
- Eczema and Allergies
- Emergency Contraception
- Fungal Nails Infection
- Haemorrhoids (Piles)
- Mouth Ulcers
- Nasal Congestion
- Period Pain
- Sore Throat
- Warts and Verrucae
Some people (elderly, children, people on certain benefits) are eligible to register with the NHS Minor Ailment Service. This will entitle you to advice and free treatment from your pharmacist for a wide range of minor illnesses and conditions. See the Minor Ailments section.
3. Don’t forget to use your practice Nurse
hey are experienced in dealing with many conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes and a range of minor illnesses such as chest, urine and ear infections and skin conditions. Many can prescribe medication and arrange investigations. Nurse appointments are often quicker to get than an appointment with a doctor.
4. Dental and Mouth Problems
If you have problems with your teeth, gums or mouth then contact your dentist. If you are not registered with a dentist you can go to the walk-in centre at the Chalmers Dental Centre in Edinburgh - 0131 536 4800. There is a list of Midlothian dentists at the end of this directory
5. Muscle and Joint Problems
For muscle and joint problems such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder problems, sciatica, torn muscles, knee, or hip pain you can get advice and, if necessary, an appointment to see a physiotherapist on 0800 917 9390 or go to www.nhsinform.co.uk/msk/overview/
6. Foot Problems
People manage most foot problems themselves. You can get further advice and treatment by going to www.nhsinform.co.uk/msk/lowerbody/foot/ and read the section on foot problems, or ask for a podiatry referral form at your GP practice reception.
7. Infants and Toddlers
You can get advice and treatment for most problems your child may have from your Health Visitor. Ask your GP practice reception for your health visitor’s phone number. Alternatively go to www.whenshouldiworry.com for advice on common illnesses.
8. Eye problems
If you have a problem with your eyes, make an appointment at any high street optician. You can also get advice at http://patient.info/health/eyes-1326
9. Depression, Anxiety and Mental Well-Being
If you are depressed, anxious, or have a mental health problem there are a number of different organisations that can help: Midspace provides an overview of all local mental health services - www.midspace.co.uk
Midlothian Wellbeing Access Point is an open-access service for those who don’t need medication or urgent treatment but might benefit from talking therapies or other support. See page 91 Sort
Breathingspace offers someone to talk to if your thoughts and feelings are overwhelming you – www.breathingspace.scot or Tel: 0800 83 85 87.
The Orchard Centre in Bonnyrigg supports all Midlothian with a range of services - go to www.health-in-mind.org.uk or phone Tel: 0131 663 1616.
If you have a life crisis that you cannot manage call Midlothian Early Intervention Crisis Response Service Tel: 0131 663 5533. Call the Samaritans Tel 116 123 – you don’t have to be suicidal to call them.
10. Alcohol and Drug Problems
MELDAP (Midlothian and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership) run Gateway to Recovery clinics in Dalkeith and Penicuik. For more information Tel: 0131 660 6822 or go to www.meldap.co.uk where you will also find a comprehensive list of advice and support services to aid recovery.
11. Healthy Living
For advice on healthy eating, exercise and stopping smoking go to www.nhs.uk/livewell/Pages/Livewellhub.aspx If you want to stop smoking speak to your pharmacist or go to www.ash.org.uk. If you are interested in exercise go to www.activemidlothian.org.uk. If you have a long-term health condition then contact the Living Well team on 0131 537 9849.
Don’t forget you can make a GP phone appointment instead of attending the GP practice – if you don’t need to be examined then a phone appointment is often quicker and easier. If the doctor feels they need to see you they will arrange it.
And if you can’t make your GP appointment please phone and cancel! Around 4% of appointments are wasted as people do not turn up. This equates to hundreds of missed appointments across Midlothian each month! Ask to join your practice’s text reminder service if they have one.
Finally, if the receptionist at your GP practice asks you what is wrong... please don’t worry. They are bound by confidentiality like any other member of the practice team. They are trained to find the best appointment for you. If you have any concerns about your practice, please speak to the practice manager.
We want to be there when you need us most.
It’s your NHS, please use it wisely.
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