Support to ensure visitors use healthcare services appropriately

Following an upsurge in visitors to the Island requiring healthcare the NHS on the Island is writing to hotels, B&Bs, campsites and tourist destinations setting out the advice and options for visitors to receive healthcare.

Nikki Turner, Director of Acute Services at Isle of Wight NHS Trust says: “We’re seeing an increased level of walk-in attendance at the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital by visitors to the Island. It’s good for the Island that visitor numbers are up but we really don’t want visitors spending long periods in the Emergency Department waiting room for things which they could resolve elsewhere. We want them to be enjoying their time on the Island.

“We are writing to those that provide accommodation and visitor attractions to help them provide advice to visitors about what to do and where to go when they have an urgent healthcare need but it’s not an emergency. We will also be distributing posters across the Island providing the advice.”

The key messages in the letter are:

  • if visitors have a healthcare need then either calling the Island based 111 (Freephone 24/7) service for telephone advice or visiting one of the many pharmacies on the Island to speak to a highly qualified pharmacist will save the trouble of travelling into St. Mary’s Hospital and the possibility of a long wait;
  • the network of GP surgeries on the Island have arrangements in place to accept visitors as ‘temporary residents’ and deal with any health issues in the same way as they would a permanent resident. Many GP practices now have longer opening hours including weekends; and
  • details of all services on the Island, including pharmacies and GP practices and helpful advice about healthcare can be found on the NHS Choices website at Visitors to the Island may also find the Isle Help ‘Isle Find It’ website at useful for finding services.

A copy of the letter can be viewed below. The posters will be distributed next week.

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