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NHS pressures, how you can help

The Derbyshire health and social care system has been under sustained and significant pressure over the Christmas bank holiday period. Despite this, the NHS facilities remain open for business and services are there for anyone who needs them.

Priority is given to patients with the highest level of need, particularly those requiring urgent and emergency care.

What you can do to help:

There are things everyone can do to help, and the Integrated Care Board is asking people to use its services wisely and to think about self-care as an option for some conditions before automatically going to the NHS for help. If self-care isn't an option, then choosing the right service for the condition will help patients to get the right treatment first time and usually more quickly.

It is expected that the New Year bank holiday and beyond will be particularly busy, so people are asked to plan ahead around important things like repeat prescriptions but also to think about how they can support our health and social care system at one of the busiest times of the year.

What members of the public can do to help:

NHS teams continue to work exceptionally hard and would like to reassure patients and the public that despite the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them, so if you require urgent medical help, you should continue to come forward.

Other things which everyone can do to help the NHS right now, include:

  • Only call 999 or attend accident and emergency departments when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
  • When needing urgent medical care but it’s not an emergency, visit NHS 111 online - - or call NHS111 for advice on how to get care at any time of day or night.
  • Utilising an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) if you have a minor illness or injury, such as sprains, fractures, minor burns, skin infections, animal bites, minor eye and head injuries, stings and bites. Urgent treatment centres/Minor Injury Units are available 8am-8pm in Derby, Ilkeston, Ripley, Darley Dale, Buxton, Lichfield and Tamworth and can help with care and treatment for many of the most common issues that people attend emergency departments for. They will often be able to help get the care needed more quickly than accident and emergency departments. Please only attend a UTC if you need urgent treatment for an illness or injury.
  • See a pharmacist for advice on a minor illness such as a cough or cold. Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
  • Contact your GP for symptoms that won't go away, such as lumps, unexpected weight loss, abnormal bleeding and persistent pain.  GP practices also employ highly trained professionals such as physiotherapists, nurses, dieticians and others.
  • Check on neighbours, friends and family who  have an existing respiratory condition, to ensure they are okay and not suffering from additional wheeziness or shortness of breath. It is also important to ensure they are following their care plan with medication, inhalers and oxygen support. If you are concerned and feel you need clinical advice, use NHS 111 online or call 111. It is essential that they receive treatment early and seek to prevent an admission to hospital.
  • Support loved ones who are ready to leave hospital by doing six simple things:
    • Bring clothes for leaving hospital
    • Arrange access to their home or place they call home and to check on heating and food
    • Check transport arrangements
    • Ensure they have any dressings or equipment they need
    • Confirm any follow up appointments
    • Check for valuables and belongings when leaving 
  • Please continue to treat all NHS and care staff with the respect they deserve. Our hard-working staff and volunteers are doing all they can to keep patients safe and supported.
  • If unable to make any NHS appointment, please contact the number on appointment letters so that it can be reallocated to another patient.

There is a range of other steps the community can take at this time help the NHS, and further information is available at

Thank you for your consideration at this time.