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Choose the right service this half-term and cut down on waiting times

The half-term holidays are here and the NHS in Dorset is reminding local residents of the range of health services available locally that can provide the access to the right care in the quickest way. Cuts, bruises, bumps and grazes are some of the most common occurrences when children are off school, most of which can be treated by self-care.

There is often extra pressure on NHS services throughout the school holidays, so if you or your child feels unwell, but your case is not an emergency, please consider the best way you can get advice. Services include your local GP, a minor injuries unit (MIU), pharmacists, walk-in centres and NHS 111.

Geoffrey Walker, matron for emergency services at Poole Hospital said: “The school holiday periods are a busy time of year for NHS services.

“Choosing the right service will ensure patients receive the best possible treatment, while freeing up busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.”

There are many alternatives to emergency departments including minor injuries units such as the one at Victoria Hospital in Wimborne which is open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 4pm. Other local MIUs offering similar services can be found by visiting, please check the website.

The MIU is a nurse-led service, assessing and treating minor injuries and illnesses amongst adults and children and offers advice and treatment of lacerations, burns and wounds, musculoskeletal injuries (including sprains and strains to legs and arms, as well as fractures), head injuries, eye injuries, dealing with foreign bodies and undertaking assessments following a fall in the elderly.

The team also offers treatment and advice for minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, asthma, bites and stings, rashes and allergic reactions, ear ache and sore throats, and emergency contraception.

Teresa North, matron at Victoria Hospital, Dorset HealthCare said: “By attending an MIU you allow emergency department staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait.”

Other alternative services include:

  • Pharmacists, who can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries, and many, are open until late and at weekends.
  • You can call NHS 111, if you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency. It is a free service and can quickly direct you to the right service. It also ensures that the 999 number is kept free for very serious emergency medical cases.
  • Your local GP surgery will be open normally during half term, if you need to see a doctor and it is not urgent, they are happy to help.

For more information on the alternative services to emergency departments visit

Date: 19 February 2015

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Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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