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Health services in Milton Keynes are currently under considerable pressure.
That's according to NHS MK which says it's because of winter illnesses like the vomiting bug, Norovirus.
Two wards are closed at Milton Keynes Hospital, the Intermediate Care Unit is shut and ambulances are being sent to neighbouring hospitals where possible.
To help ease the pressure, NHS Milton Keynes is trying to ensure people are using the correct department for their illness.
Choose Well is a new colour coded scheme which helps people understand where they should go to for help, depending on their illness. It starts with the blue section which recommends self-care and ends with A&E or 999 in red.
Here's the full breakdown:
BLUE AND DARK GREEN - Self-care and NHS Direct
There are many conditions people can treat themselves at home, such as indigestion, coughs, sore throats, grazes and hangovers. For those who are unwell and don’t know which part of the service to use there is NHS Direct at 0845 46 47 or at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
LIGHT GREEN - Your local pharmacist
People are also reminded that there is a wealth of knowledge and over-the-counter remedies available from your local pharmacists who all now have confidential consulting areas and can advise on symptoms such as diarrhoea, headaches, travel advice and minor infections.
YELLOW- Your GP
For symptoms such as ear pain, feverish children and feeling ill your GP will be able to help. Most GP practices in Milton Keynes now open longer hours, some opening earlier in the morning while other stay open later or have appointments at weekends. The latest GP practice, in Broughton Gate, takes patients from across Milton Keynes. It’s open 8am to 8pm seven days a week including Bank Holidays.
AMBER - Urgent Care
If you have cut yourself, have a sprain or develop a rash the Urgent Care Centre, formerly called the Walk-In Centre, on the hospital campus can help. It’s open everyday from 7am until 10pm.
RED - A&E
Only as a last resort, in a case of an emergency, people should call an ambulance or attend A&E. Staff in A&E at Milton Keynes Hospital can care for people who are choking, have chest pain, blood loss, fractures and when people have black out.
For more information about Choose Well go to www.miltonkeynes.nhs.uk/choosewell.htm