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Help to make the right healthcare choice

Photo of a stethoscope, wooden person and heart on a tray on a table

Your local NHS is here for you in a coronavirus-safe way.

If you live in Bracknell Forest and need healthcare, there are many ways to access help and support close to home.

Care at home

Remember that you can care for yourself with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest if you have:

  • an upset tummy
  • pain or headache
  • sore throat (but if for 2 weeks or more contact your GP)

For health advice, visit the NHS website, and for health advice, you can visit the Frimley Health and Care website and search ‘stay well’.

Pharmacy

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines. They can help you with the following:

  • minor illnesses and ailments
  • queries about medication dosage, types of suitability plus urgent request
  • medicine related to hospital discharge   
  • repeat prescriptions

NHS 111

Call NHS 111 or visit the 111 website with pre-bookable appointments available at Brants Bridge in Bracknell, your GP practice or local hospital if required.

NHS 111 is just a phone call or a few clicks away for help, advice or referral for urgent medical problems when you’re unsure where to go. To get help from NHS 111, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can either go to the NHS 111 website (for people aged 5 and over only), or call 111.

Your medical need or concern will be assessed by a health professional - ranging from nurses, doctors, pharmacists and paramedics - without you needing to leave your home. Depending on the outcome, you will, if needed, be directed to the most appropriate health service in a timely and safe way. This may include a booked appointment at Brants Bridge, Bracknell between the hours of 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday and Sunday; or a booked appointment at your general practice. If your condition is more serious, you may be given a booked arrival time at a local Emergency Department.

You should also contact NHS 111 in the first instance for any minor injuries (for example, minor lacerations, minor burns, minor facial injuries, minor sports injuries). If appropriate, NHS 111 will book you into an appointment at Brants Bridge, Bracknell to see the relevant clinician.

In all instances, your details will be passed onto the relevant clinicians so that they know when you are coming and why.

Please note that ‘walk-in’ services at Brants Bridge in Bracknell remain suspended and services are available by appointment only.

NHS 111 can also send an ambulance to you should your condition be assessed as being serious or life-threatening. However, anyone with life-threatening illnesses, injuries or emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, should dial 999 directly and immediately.

Your GP practice – with weekday, weekend and evening availability

If you have a condition that has not improved after seeking help from a pharmacy or NHS 111; you need help with an urgent medical condition that is not life threatening; or you would like to report a deteriorating chronic condition, please contact your GP surgery by phone or online using their website.

Practices generally operate between the hours of 8am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. However, we advise you to check your practice website as times may vary.

Whilst lockdown restrictions are easing, and COVID-19 infection rates may have reduced, general practice still needs to maintain a covid-secure environment. Because of this, practices continue to assess patients remotely before offering face-to-face appointments. They are working hard to increase their face-to-face capacity in a covid-secure way, whilst retaining the flexibility of offering online and telephone access where these are preferred.

For minor aliments or illnesses, GPs may also book you an appointment with your local pharmacist.

Outside of normal practice hours, a range of additional appointments with GPs, nurses and health care assistants are available, providing greater appointment availability and flexibility for people. This includes some evening, weekend and bank holiday appointments. You must be registered with a GP surgery locally to qualify, and appointments can only be made in advance through your own GP practice. Please note that this service cannot accept walk-in patients and appointments are for routine general practice issues only and not for emergency care. You will be given the location of your appointment, outside of normal practice hours, at the time of making a booking as this may differ from being at your surgery.

If you need help with your mental health and it is not urgent, then you can self-refer to Talking Therapies on the NHS website without seeing a GP first.

Dr Martin Kittel, local GP and Clinical Lead for Bracknell Place, part of the wider Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Whichever service you access, I’d like to reassure you that the NHS is working very hard to be there for you in a safe and timely way. 

“GP Practices are currently facing unprecedented times with very high levels of demand.

“This includes significant waiting times for non-urgent routine care and high volumes of telephone calls which we are working hard to reduce. We are also implementing additional resources, where possible.

“To support us during these challenging times, please consider how urgent your request is before contacting your GP practice and whether there is another service, like your pharmacy or NHS 111 that could help you.”

For minor or self-limiting illnesses, you can also visit the NHS website for information or the Patient info website.