HEALTH and care services across Somerset are currently 'very busy'.

This includes GP surgeries, hospitals, accident and emergency, community health services, mental health services and the ambulance service.

Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are asking people to choose well to help the services that are under pressure.

James Rimmer, chief executive at Somerset CCG said: “Demand for services such as GP appointments and treatment in emergency departments has risen substantially, we’re facing more challenges in discharging people home from hospital and patients are facing increasingly lengthy waits for treatment.

"A combination of increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, staff absences coupled with a surge in people wanting same-day urgent and emergency care, has resulted in hospitals, GP services and the ambulance service experiencing increased demand on their services.

"Calling 999 or visiting an emergency department for anything less than a genuine, life-threatening emergency takes already-stretched healthcare workers away from their sickest patients, who are most in need of urgent medical care.

"If people have minor ailments they can get advice from and the local pharmacy. Pharmacists are experts on medicines, are very knowledgeable and can advise on whether another NHS service is required.

"If a person’s illness does not go away after a few days or is getting worse, then they should contact their GP surgery.

"We’d like to thank people for their support. We’d also like to thank our hard-working teams who are working incredibly hard to care for those in need.”

Because of the vast number of people who are in need of care, there are longer waiting lists for routine appointments. Somerset CCG is asking people to ring 111 if they are unsure of which service they need. Or for on-going or non-urgent concerns, patients are being asked to contact their local pharmacist or GP.

Cllr David Huxtable, cabinet member for adult social care at Somerset County Council, said he would like to thank everyone for their help and support in health and social care.

“We’re asking families to work with us and our NHS colleagues and help get their loved one home from hospital as soon as they are safely able to do so," he added.

"We’re also asking anyone who feels they are receiving care at home they no longer need, and only that they no longer need, to contact their care provider or Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224.

"Staff will then review their care needs with them. This further supports us in allocating care support to those most in need in these high demand times.”

Here's how you can help:

  • Keep the Emergency Department for emergencies. If your condition isn’t an emergency, choose a different service. You may have to be prepared to wait a bit longer for treatment if it isn’t urgent.
  • Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as insect bites, ear ache, skin rashes.
  • Keeping a well-stocked medicines cabinet helps to deal with many common illnesses and injuries that can be treated at home – talk to your pharmacist about remedies
  • Use the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses.
  • Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
  • Get your Covid-19 vaccination and have both jabs if you’re eligible.
  • Covid-19 case rates in the south west are among the highest in the country, the virus is still very much here so please continue to maintain social distancing and good hygiene, especially hand hygiene, to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Meet outside where possible.
  • Families with loved ones in hospital are being asked to collect their relatives as soon as they have been told they are able to go home, as doing so means more beds are available for newer patients in urgent need of admission.
  • If you are receiving care at home that you think you no longer need please contact your care provider or Adult Social Care so staff can review your care needs. This will support us to make sure care is allocated to help someone else to remain in their own home or leave hospital with the right support.
  • Please be patient and be kind. Our staff are all working hard to ensure people get the right care when they need it.

To find out more visit