Use health services wisely this winter



Doctors in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire are advising people to use health services wisely over the festive period, and have a safe and very happy Christmas. A wide range of help and advice is available to those seeking treatment over Christmas and the New Year, ensuring local urgent care services are kept free for genuine emergencies. These include:

  • Self-care
  • NHS Choices
  • NHS Direct
  • Pharmacies
  • Your own GP
  • Minor injuries units
  • Walk in centres
  • GP Out of Hours Service
  • Emergency dental service

Dr Gina Palumbo, East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We can all play a part in making sure GP surgeries as well as emergency services such as A&E and 999 are free so that vulnerable people who need emergency treatment are seen and treated as quickly as possible. 

“Whilst the Emergency Department may seem an easy solution, you can be seen and treated much more quickly by choosing the right place for your particular case. This winter we are backing the national NHS Choose well campaign by asking people who are normally healthy to think twice before they contact their local NHS services with common winter health complaints.”

Dr Tony Banerjee, Chair of NHS Hull CCG said: “Most common aches, pains and winter illnesses will begin to clear up by themselves within a few days with some TLC and self-care essentials. If you need advice your local community pharmacy is your medicines expert and if you have internet access, you can search for advice online about taking care of yourself on the NHS Choices website.”

“If you do need more expert help, it’s important to choose the right service for your needs. If you are not sure, advice is available from NHS Direct, either via phone or their website, from the comfort and safety of your own home. Specially trained advisors will be able to guide you to the most appropriate place, ensuring local urgent care services are kept free for genuine emergencies.”

Treating at home
Many everyday minor illnesses or symptoms (like colds, coughs, hangovers and sore throats) can be easily treated at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest. In case you get ill, be prepared with medicines and supplies, such as:

  • Paracetamol or aspirin
  • Cough and cold relief
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Plasters
  • A thermometer
  • Antiseptic cream

NHS Choices
Advice and information about a range of common winter health complaints, including how long symptoms will last and how to relieve symptoms is available from NHS Choices at You’ll find an easy to use symptom checker, can search for your local services and use the interactive First Aid toolkit. 

NHS Direct is a 24 hour helpline available for advice, information or to check whether you need to see a health professional. Call 0845 46 47 or visit

Pharmacists are qualified experts who can offer health advice and remedies,(without an appointment) for a whole range of minor ailments, such as coughs and colds, and mild symptoms e.g. headache, nausea or diarrhoea. Pharmacists can now sell many medicines that used to only be available on prescription. A prescription collection service is available at some pharmacies and many now offer a free home delivery service. If a pharmacist does feel you need more specialist help from a doctor or nurse, he or she will be able to advise you.

The opening hours of pharmacies will vary over the Christmas period – pharmacy opening times for the East Riding over the festive period are available on  and opening hours for pharmacies in Hull can be found at or ring NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 if you do not have web access.

Your GP practice’s opening hours may change during the Christmas period. Details of Christmas opening times should be available from your local practice. Using your local GP surgery appropriately and responsibly will help ensure you get the best out of the healthcare services it provides.

Walk-in centres are open 365 days a year from 8am-8pm and can treat both registered and non-registered patients without an appointment.

Hull’s walk-in centre is based within Wilberforce Health Centre on Story Street, Hull City Centre, open 8am - 8pm every day of the year, telephone 01482 335180.

The Wolds View Primary Care Centre in Bridlington is open 8am - 8pm every day of the year and can treat both registered and non-registered patients. Same day appointments are available and patients wanting to access the service are advised to ring 01262 423464 to book an appointment if possible to avoid long waiting times.

Minor injuries units are the best place to go for treatment and advice for less serious injuries such as sprains and strains, cuts and wounds, bumps and burns. It can often be much quicker and easier to seek expert help in this way as there is no need to make an appointment; patients can simply walk in and be seen by a qualified nurse practitioner. Opening times and locations of Hull’s minor injuries units can be found at For opening times for East Riding of Yorkshire minor injuries units, please visit  or or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

GP out of hours services should be used only if you have an urgent medical problem for which treatment cannot wait until your normal GP practice re-opens. The out of hours services are available all day on bank holidays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • Hull: If you need urgent medical care in the evening or weekends, call 0845 056 8060 between 6.30pm and 8.00am Monday to Friday on normal working days, and from 6.00pm on Friday through to 8.00am on Monday.
  • East Riding of Yorkshire: The Out of Hours Service provides urgent medical and health care for patients in the East Riding during the period when doctor’s surgeries are closed. Call 0300 3300 804 (6pm to 8am on weekdays and all day during weekends and bank holidays).

Help and support for those feeling anxious or depressed
If you or someone you know, needs help, support, advice or treatment there’s an NHS psychological support service for people aged over 18, living in Hull and the East Riding or registered to a Hull or East Riding GP. You can refer yourself into this service directly. Call 01482 335000 or email.

Emergency Dental Services (normal working hours)
If you have a dental emergency, and do not have a regular dentist, call 01482 335409 for details of Hull dentists accepting emergency appointments or 01482 650700 if you live in the East Riding. Information is also available via NHS Direct - call 0845 46 47 or visit

Emergency Dental Advice Service (out of hours)
The Out of Hours Advice Service can be accessed by calling 0845 056 8298 between 6pm and 9pm every evening (seven nights per week) and on weekends and Bank Holidays between and 12 noon.

Emergency Department (A&E)
The Emergency Department is a last resort, and should therefore be considered only in real emergencies. Going straight to the Emergency Department can put emergency services and hospitals under added pressure, whilst unnecessary use of the service could prevent someone whose condition is more serious from getting treatment.

999 should be used in life-threatening situations only. Every ambulance sent out unnecessarily uses resources that are then unavailable for genuine emergencies. Please consider this before calling 999.

The new Department of Health website Winterwatch gives practical advice on keeping well when the weather is very cold as well as information on how local hospitals and ambulance services are coping with the increased demands on their services. Visit

If you are living with an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease; if you are a carer of someone with health problems such as these; or looking after someone recovering after a stay in hospital; there is a free on-line resource that you can use to organise care and support amongst friends, family members and neighbours – go to

For further information please contact Emma Shakeshaft, Interim Communications Manager, North Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit 01482 672195

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