NHS Inform has some excellent advice and self-help tips for many health problems. In the first instance, it is worth you clicking on their logo and putting in the details of your symptoms or the condition you have or think you have – you will likely have your questions answered without even having to leave home!

What can my local pharmacy do for me?

Your local pharmacist can help you with many minor ailments, including coughs, colds, sore throats, sore ears and skin infections like impetigo and athlete’s foot.

If you are a woman aged 16-65 and think you have a urine infection, the pharmacist can advise you and even give you antibiotics. If you have blood in your urine, contact the GP surgery instead. For more information visit the NHSGGC website pharmacy first page.

For more information in general on services provided by pharmacies, visit the NHSGGC website pharmacist page.

I have a problem with my foot.

Podiatrists are foot specialists and can help you with all foot-related problems. They do not, however, provide a toenail-cutting service. Further information on their services is available on the NHSGGC website Podiatry page.

To self refer and make an appointment call the Podiatry Appointment Hotline on 0141 347 8909 (Mon – Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 1pm) or email AHP.Appointments@ggc.scot.nhs.uk 

*Please note – if you are diabetic, make sure you mention this when you self-refer as it is important for the podiatrist to know

My back or limbs are sore.

Physiotherapists are highly-trained professionals who are certainly better than the average GP at diagnosing and managing soft tissue injuries (non fractures) to your neck, back and limbs. If you have hurt yourself in some way that is causing an achy muscle or joint, self referring to physiotherapy is probably the best option for you.

You can complete a self-referral form which you can get from the physiotherapy reception desk in Eastwood Health and Care Centre (Barrhead Health and care Centre) or from your GP practice.

For some NHS-sourced guidance on self managing many musculoskeletal conditions visit the NHS Inform website muscle, bone & joint page.

I have an issue with my teeth or gums.

Your dentist, also known as General Dental Practitioner, is the equivalent of your General Medical Practitioner (GP) for everything to do with your oral health. You should make sure you are registered with a dentist just as you are registered with a GP. Visiting your GP about a dental problem because you can’t get an appointment at your dentist or are not registered with one is NOT APPROPRIATE. Your dentist has trained for several years to be a specialist in oral health, your GP has only very basic training, and probably had that many moons ago!

I have an eye problem.

Optometrists are highly skilled allied health professionals who have undertaken several years of training focusing on eye health. Not only do they have skills and knowledge vastly in excess of a GP, they also have all the necessary equipment to thoroughly test all aspects of your eyes’ health. All optometrists in East Renfrewshire are signed up to provide same-day service if you have an urgent problem such as an acutely red or painful eye or loss of vision.

Optometrists can diagnose and prescribe and can refer directly to ophthalmology (eye doctors), so there really is no need to ever see your GP about eye problems. If the optometrist identifies an eye problem which suggests a bigger health problem, they will inform your GP. Optometrists can see people of ALL ages, including children over 4 weeks old, about ALL eye problems.

Depressed, anxious, stressed or lonely?

There are many different resources to tackle mental health issues, both NHS and third-party. If you are feeling suicidal, speak urgently to your GP (Call 111 if your GP is closed) The Samaritans are also an option on 116 123. Otherwise, consider some of these options:

Breathing Space is a voluntary organisation dealing with symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Contact them on 0800 83 85 87 or visit the breathing space website. 

RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) is a Scottish voluntary service with which we collaborate to provide services. You can visit the RAMH website to find out more.

Wise Connections is East Renfrewshire’s service for over 65’s who are feeling anxious, down or depressed. You can self-refer, or a relative or other healthcare worker can refer you Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm on 0141 451 0590

If loneliness and isolation are affecting you, or your loved one, click here to access the East Renfrewshire Older Adult Resource Pack, which contains lots of information about local initiatives to combat isolation.

Bridges is the formal East Renfrewshire Primary Care Mental Health Team. Bridges trained staff to deliver short term psychological therapy and counselling to help you develop your coping skills and improve your mood. Treatment may take the form of group classes, workshops or 1:1 sessions. More details can be found on the East Renfrewshire website bridges page. Your GP can refer you, but you can also self-refer, cutting out the middle-man, by clicking on the East Renfrewshire website referral page.

If you are a teenager or the parent of a child with mental health issues including depression, anxiety, drugs & alcohol abuse, eating disorders, sleep problems, bereavement or school-related issues, you can access a guide to various sources of help here.

If you are the parent or carer of a child or teenage struggling with mental health problems, you can also click here for the East Renfrewshire Healthier Minds guidance for parents.

If you are struggling with your child’s behaviour and they are aged 3-6, you can contact the Psychology of Parenting Project team on 451 0777. If your child is aged 8-18; you are worried about their emotional health and wellbeing and feel that you and your family would benefit from some support you can speak to your GP about being referred to Children 1st , a charitable organisation accessible to all practices in East Renfrewshire.

I have a problem with drugs or alcohol.

If you think, or are being told, that you are drinking too much, or you are taking illicit drugs and want to stop, then you can contact our Community Addictions Team on 0141 577 4685. You can also visit the Talk to Frank website, If you’d prefer to get help out with the NHS framework.

Sexual health, family planning and pregnancy.

NHS Glasgow & Clyde has a specialist sexual and reproductive health service called Sandyford. As well as their city centre headquarters, they run various satellite clinics which are starting to reopen after the COVID pandemic. You can call them on 0141 211 8130 for an appointment or visit the Sandyford website for more information and where you can book online for some services.

If you have done pregnancy tests and have discovered that you are pregnant, you can self-refer to maternity services by calling the centralised maternity booking service on 0141 232 4005.

My GP & pharmacy are closed, what do I do?

When your GP surgery is closed and the pharmacy is closed and you can’t wait until they open again, then you can call NHS 24 on 111. Also, there are a lot of self-help guides available on the NHS Inform website which will likely provide enough information to reassure and advise you how to self-manage your symptoms.

I have cut, burnt or injured myself.

The dedicated Minor Injuries Unit at the New Victoria Hospital is designed to deal exclusively with less serious injuries. This includes cuts, burns/scalds, sore limbs as a result of an accident. You can phone them on 0141 201 6000 if you are not sure if your attendance is appropriate.

The MIU is open from 9am-9pm daily (out with these times, attend your local A&E unit) and sees everyone over 5 years old. If your child is 5 or younger, they should attend the Royal Hospital for Children A&E, based at the QEUH. Their telephone number, should you need it, is 0141 201 0000.

The A&E in RAH Paisley also has a minor injuries area and is open 24/7.

When should I call 999 or go to A&E?

If you think you or your relative is suffering a serious, life-threatening condition such as a heart attack or a stroke, or you/they are struggling to breathe, it is appropriate for you to call 999 to speak to emergency services.

If you have been badly injured e.g. obviously broken bone or profuse bleeding from a wound or a head injury in which you were knocked unconscious, it is appropriate for you to attend Accident and Emergency.

Please note – it is NOT appropriate to attend ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY with a cough, cold, sore throat, sore ear, urine infection, sunburn, ear wax…

How Can Technology Help My Health?

There is a vast array of technological solutions to help you look after yourself and your loved ones. Our Technology Enabled Care team can help you with devices such as blood pressure monitors, alarms, medication prompting devices and much more. You can visit their site and get in touch at http://www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/tec

The majority of practices in East Renfrewshire are now using the Telehealth/Florence system for diagnosing and monitoring high blood pressure, and we are constantly exploring new and innovative ways to use technology to improve the health of our patients.

When should I Worry About My Child?
Children pick up viruses very frequently, especially during pre-school and primary school years. Most of the time they get better all by themselves if given enough time and care at home.  To get some advice on what to expect in childhood illnesses and when you should be concerned and seek medical attention, please visit www.whenshouldiworry.com. They have produced an excellent booklet for parents which you can download by clicking here.
I'm having trouble with my COPD or Asthma
If you are feeling unwell with your COPD or Asthma, such as more short of breath or wheezy than usual, or you have a cough and / or fever, it is appropriate to make contact with your GP practice for advice as you may need extra treatment such as antibiotics, steroids or a change to your inhalers.

If you are not unwell but don’t feel your condition is well controlled, sometimes you just need to go back to basics and remind yourself what COPD or Asthma is; here is a link to a great national website to support patients with these conditions:

Click on the links in bold here for the NHS Inform guides to COPD and Asthma.

One of the most common issues resulting in not feeling well with your COPD or Asthma is not taking your inhalers properly; here is the Greater Glasgow & Clyde guide to taking your inhalers properly.

Trying to lose weight?
Are you trying to lose weight and are looking for some help with this?

You can contact our Live Active programme on 0141 232 1860 or go to www.nhsggc.org.uk/getactive to get registered for a tailored exercise programme which includes mentoring, goal setting and supported activity sessions.

In some circumstances you can also refer yourself to Glasgow and Clyde Weight Management Services. If you have Type 2 Diabetes and your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 25 or more (or 22.5 or more if you are of South Asian ethnicity) or if you have Type 1 Diabetes, Heart Disease or have had a Stroke and your BMI is 30 or more (27.5 or more for South Asians) you can self-refer. You can access their information leaflet at this address, available in multiple languages: https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/your-health/healthy-living/manage-your-weight/weight-management-service-information-leaflet/ or click here to download the English version.

To calculate your BMI, click on the following address: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/

Questions not answered?

If you still haven’t had your questions answered or found a suitable alternative, then call your GP practice to arrange an appointment.