The NHS in Leeds is encouraging residents to choose the right service if they become unwell during the festive period.
This winter, health and care staff across the city are working together to provide vital services for people in Leeds.
GP practices, pharmacies and hospitals are still here to help you over the Christmas and New Year period. Appointments at GP practices continue to be available and pharmacies will also be open, with some changes to opening hours. However, it is important to choose the appropriate service to meet your needs.
The colder temperatures and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and seasonal flu means that most of our services across the city are dealing with a huge increase in the numbers of people accessing care whilst many are operating with significant staff shortages.
For advice and tips on staying well this winter and to find out how to access different healthcare services, visit togetherwe-can.com.
If parents and carers have concerns for their young children aged 0-5, a new website for West Yorkshire led by a team of doctors provides accurate medical advice. It also has the latest information and advice about strep A and scarlet fever, visit: www.wyhealthiertogether.nhs.uk.
Dr Sarah Forbes, Medical Director at the Leeds office of the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said: “As with any other time of the year, people can and will become unwell over the holiday period. People can manage some minor illnesses and ailments safely at home – remember to stock up on paracetamol and other cold and flu remedies. You can also visit your local pharmacy, who can offer professional advice for minor illnesses.
“GP appointments are also available over the festive period. The appointment may not be at your usual GP practice, but at a nearby surgery, referred to as an extended access hub. To book an appointment, ring your usual GP surgery or contact NHS 111 to access the out-of-hours service.
“Save time if you have a minor injury or illness – A&E is busier than usual so, unless it is a life threatening or emergency case (when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk), you are likely to experience a long wait. It may be quicker for you to go to an urgent treatment centre or call 111 / visit NHS111 online. It’s free and they can give you urgent advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Please remember you should only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency. This includes choking, chest pain, blackout, severe bleeding, a serious injury, or symptoms of a stroke.”
This can be a difficult time of year for many people, and it’s important to look after our mental health, as well as our physical health. Help and support are available for anyone who needs it:
- West Yorkshire mental health support line is a free service providing confidential support, advice, information and guidance for anyone concerned about their mental health or someone they care for. Anyone registered with a Leeds GP can call the helpline on 0800 183 0558. The service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- MindWell is the mental health website for people in Leeds. MindWell provides advice about looking after your mental health, as well as where to go if you or someone you know needs support. Visit: mindwell-leeds.org.uk.
- Leeds Mental Wellbeing Service is for anyone aged 17+ registered with a Leeds GP and provides support and psychological therapies for common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. The service also provides online therapy courses and self-management tools which are available at any time day and night to help with a wide range of issues including stress and anxiety, mindfulness, depression and bereavement. Help is available immediately through online courses at https://leeds.omnitherapy.org/
- If you prefer talking therapies, you can also refer yourself through the website: leedsmentalwellbeingservice.co.uk
- Children and young people can visit the MindMate website for information and support about their emotional health and wellbeing: mindmate.org.uk
- The NHS Every Mind Matters website also includes a wide range of resources to help with anxiety, low mood and stress.
- If you’re struggling with your mental health, the NHS is here for you. Find out what support is available on our new mental health hub: uk/mentalhealth
Support for people in crisis is also available:
- Connect – a survivor-led local helpline which offers emotional support and information to people in Leeds every night from 6pm-2am on 0808 800 1212. Connect also provides online support through instant chat for people – lslcs.org.uk Connect specialises in working with people at risk of suicide and self-harm and those with complex mental health needs.
- Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (LYPFT) Single Point of Access (SPA) – if you, or someone you’re worried about, needs urgent care or treatment for a mental health crisis call the SPA on 0800 183 1485 (open 24/7, every day).
- Anyone whose life is in immediate danger should call 999.
For GP practice and pharmacy opening hours over the festive period, please visit this webpage.
Notes for editors:
- Symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, fever and a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel. On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually, but will have a sandpapery feel. If your child becomes unwell with these symptoms, parents are advised to contact their GP practice, NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 (which operates a 24/7 service) to seek advice. For the latest advice on scarlet fever and Group A strep infections, please visit Strep A – NHS (www.nhs.uk).