A MEDICAL facility in Barry is at the centre of NHS Wales’ new campaign pointing to alternative services to help ease the strain on GPs and A&Es as winter approaches.

When you’re sick, it’s always most reassuring to see a doctor, however, with the strain on the health service, Welsh Government is trying to point patients to alternative treatment to protect frontline services.

The ‘Help us, Help You’ campaign highlights other local services and health professionals working in NHS Wales, that are available to ensure those with urgent care needs can be treated quickly.

Yesterday, October 6, the launch of the campaign focused round West Quay Medical Centre on Hood Road in Barry.

Gareth Thomas, business manager at the centre, which serves 15,000 patients, said that on that Monday, the centre had dealt with 600 enquiries to see a doctor.

Mr Thomas described how, as we enter the winter season, demand is ramping up with an increase in complaints about sore throats, coughs and respiratory issues.

He explained to Claire Summers on BBC Radio Wales drive time yesterday that staff are trained to place patients in the correct care.

“All our staff are trained in ‘care navigation’” said Mr Thomas. “They are trained to look out for key words or understanding patients' needs and directing them to other services like pharmacies and physios.”

You don’t always need to see a doctor to get the medication you need. Mr Thomas said advanced nurse practitioners have the ability to prescribe meds as well.

Penarth Times: Barry's West Quay Medical CentreBarry's West Quay Medical Centre (Image: Google Maps)

West Quay receptionist Sarah Edgar told BBC Wales Today it’s important to listen to patients and see where they can send them to free up doctor’s time to handle more complex medical needs.

Urgent Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) and Same Day Emergency Care Services (SDECs) are now up and running across multiple sites in Wales, as a result of the Welsh Government’s ‘Six Goals for Urgent and Emergency Care’ programme - helping to safely prevent trips to emergency departments.

Dr James Martin, told the BBC, they are a help, but a drop in the ocean.

Dr Martin said: “Ten thousand patients are seen by UPCCs which is great, but that compares to 1.5million people seen by primary care, so it is a drop in the ocean.”  

Penarth Times: Dr James Martin said the help is good, but a drop in the oceanDr James Martin said the help is good, but a drop in the ocean (Image: BBC)

Penarth Times: The health centre had to deal with 600 calls on Monday, October 6The health centre had to deal with 600 calls on Monday, October 6 (Image: Google Maps)

NHS Wales chief executive Judith Paget spoke more about the 'Help Us Help You' campaign.

She said: " “If you’re unwell, injured or have an urgent care need, there are many ways to access the NHS instead of through emergency departments. This includes the NHS 111, online and telephone service, mental health helplines, pharmacists, minor injuries units, and more.

“Now it’s easier to get care, help and advice for new or existing conditions, without even leaving your home or workplace.

“Our GPs and emergency care services are going to get busier as we head into the colder months and we want to ensure that people are getting the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.”

How’s the health service working for you in Barry? Let us know in comments, on our Facebook page, or email harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk.