Three things to try before making an appointment with your GP

If you are ill, exercise self-care, check your symptoms on the NHS Choices website and visit your local pharmacist before you book a GP appointment.

That’s the advice from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (BaNES CCG) is supporting.

The 3 before GP ‘mantra’ was introduced by the RCGP with the aim of encouraging patients to do their part to help ease the pressure on health services.

The CCG hopes that residents of B&NES will also adopt the mantra 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 mantra 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 www.patient.co.uk that provide expert advice and information on a wide variety of illnesses. In B&NES we are also lucky to have the paediatric HANDiApp – designed by consultants at the Royal United Hospital – which is freely available 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.

For more specific symptom-related advice, check the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk, Patient https://patient.info and Stay Well This Winter www.nhs.uk/staywell.