Feeling unwell? Your NHS is still here for you

That's the message Judith Harris from Leeds wants to share following a bout of ill health.

Judith is backing a local NHS campaign #NHSHereForYou, which encourages people to seek medical attention if they’re unwell or concerned about their health or that of anyone in their family.

Her support follows a recent experience when she needed urgent care. After struggling with chest infections all winter, Judith noticed the latest one wasn’t clearing up and she was feeling increasingly unwell. By the end of the week, she was coughing constantly and struggling to catch her breath, so she called NHS 111 for advice.

Judith said: “The operator was great and before I knew it, an ambulance and paramedics were round to help me. The paramedics were brilliant and put me at ease almost at once with their care and attention.

“They took me to A&E at the LGI (Leeds General Infirmary). Although I was on my own and worried that I might be at risk of coronavirus by going into hospital, I never once felt like I was in any danger and the staff were wonderful. From the moment I got there to the moment I left, someone was always on hand to make sure I was okay.

“Even though my husband and I had been self-isolating for weeks, because of my symptoms, I was quite scared that I might already have the virus. The doctor I saw in A&E, Dr Dan, was lovely. He really put me at ease and calmed me down. My test results were negative, which was a relief, but even before that, he and the rest of the team were really reassuring.

“Thankfully, I’m feeling much better now but I’m so glad I called for help when I needed it. It can be quite scary when you’re older or vulnerable and you’re feeling unwell but also worried about having to go to hospital. However, don’t be scared and please do seek help as it could save your life.

“Once you’re there, that fear goes away when you realise you’re in such great hands. The staff are wonderful and will look after you from start to finish.

“People really need to know that if they’re not well, they can still get medical help. The doctors and nurses are still there for you and will keep you safe.”

Dr Bryan Power, Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions at NHS Leeds CCG, said:  “We’re concerned that the coronavirus outbreak is causing people to avoid contacting healthcare services, sometimes resulting in a dangerous life or limb-threatening delay in seeking urgent medical attention. However, as Judith’s experience shows, our hospitals and emergency services are still very much working as normal

“If your situation isn’t life threatening or urgent, your GP is also still available, on the phone in the first instance, when they will sometimes arrange a video consultation or if appropriate a face-to-face appointment.

“We understand that people have concerns about going to their GP or A&E, perhaps because they don’t want to burden the NHS or they’ve been shielding so are particularly worried about coronavirus. But you’ll be treated in a safe, low risk environment so don’t put your health at risk and get seen by a healthcare professional.”

For more information about how to get medical help when you need it, please visit www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/HereForYou

Notes to editors

Local campaign – Your NHS is still here for you when you need us

We’ve launched a local campaign to remind people to seek medical care when they need it, particularly those that are struggling with life changing and life-threatening illnesses.

For further information, visit www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/HereForYou

You can share the #NHSHereForYou messages on social media by following @NHSLeeds on Twitter, Facebook.com/nhsleeds or nhsleeds on Instagram.