If you are ill, think 3 before GP:

1. exercise self-care

2. check your symptoms on the NHS Choices website

3. visit your local pharmacist

With local health services under particular strain, BaNES CCG is backing the Royal College of GP’s ‘3 before GP’ campaign which calls on people to follow three simple steps before contacting their GP.

The CCG hopes that residents of B&NES will think ‘3 before GP’ if they or their relatives become ill, so that stretched GP services will always be available to those who need them most.

Dr Daisy Curling, CCG Board Member and a GP in Bath, said: “The RCGP campaign is all about patients thinking hard before picking up the phone to make an appointment, or taking up an urgent same-day appointment, to make sure that their symptoms can’t be managed at home or with the support of NHS-endorsed online advice or a pharmacist.”

There are several excellent web-based resources including NHS Choices and that provide expert advice and information on a wide variety of illnesses. In B&NES there is also the paediatric HANDiApp – designed by consultants at Bath’s Royal United Hospital – which is available for free via iTunes or Google Play and gives expert advice about how to manage common childhood ailments.

Pharmacists are also an excellent source of health advice, particularly at the onset of symptoms of illness. As medicines experts, they can recommend the most appropriate course of action – including to see a GP, if they believe that is necessary.