HAMPSHIRE residents are being urged to do their bit to help the NHS this winter as services remain exceptionally busy.

Those across the county are being reminded of a number of important ways that they can help the NHS, especially if they need care when it’s not an emergency.

Health and care teams continue to work tirelessly to provide safe, high quality care and manage the impact of rising COVID-19 infections, however, NHS services across Hampshire and Isle of Wight continue to face significant demand.

Derek Sandeman, chief medical officer for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, said: “We have seen countless people support the NHS in so many ways – none more so than the army of volunteers who freely gave up their time as volunteers at the various Covid-19 vaccination centres, and who continue to do so now, in all weathers.

“People will be aware of the many challenges facing the NHS across-the-board at present. All NHS services are busy but health and care teams continue to work incredibly hard to provide safe, high quality care and manage the impact of rising COVID-19 infections. As always, the NHS remains here for you when you need it.

“We know it can be frustrating and worrying when trying to make an appointment, or if you are waiting for a call back, when things are busy. But please be patient and be kind and respectful to our staff.

“We are again asking for people to help us to help them, and there are a number of simple tips we invite people to follow, including ways to get the most appropriate service for their needs.”

In a bid to help support our NHS, residents are being urged to remember a number of things during these colder months.

The NHS is urging people to get vaccinated or boosted.

Hospital Emergency Departments and 999 are really busy and must be kept for emergencies.

GP surgeries are busy too. Pharmacies can help with concerns about minor illness; Urgent Treatment Centres around the area can see injuries, including limb fractures.

Contact 111 online for urgent care and trained staff will help you find the service you need or advise you on what to do.

They can even book you an appointment slot if you need one so you know exactly when to attend – all arranged quickly and easily from the safety and the comfort of your own home.

If you have a loved one or friend in hospital who is ready to come home, you can help by picking them up promptly.

Your high street pharmacist is a highly qualified expert who can help you with concerns about minor illnesses, medicines or other wellbeing advice.

GP practices are very busy and that is why they will often triage requests to ensure that they prioritise people according to need.

Using eConsult or your practice’s online contact service helps the practice clinician get you the right help at the right time, including experts in the team to see you quickly.