Celebrate safely – GPs urge local residents to take extra care at firework displays

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GPs in Peterborough are reminding local residents to take extra care during the forthcoming Guy Fawkes celebrations taking place across the city.

As thousands of people prepare to attend public displays in Peterborough and private firework parties, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service in warning of the dangers of fireworks and bonfires and the need to take great care and follow all safety guidance.

Dr Harshad Mistry, local GP at Thomas Walker Surgery and Peterborough Urgent Care Lead said: “The most common injuries are to hands, followed by the eyes and face and around half of all injuries are to children under the age of 17. The damage that is caused can have a lifelong impact on an individual’s health and can have particularly severe consequences for children.

“If you or someone you are with does suffer any type of burn or accident do seek appropriate medical advice or attention as soon as possible. The recently opened Minor Illness and Injury Unit on Thorpe Road in Peterborough is able to treat minor burns and scalds and is open seven days a week from 8am – 8pm. Alternatively, contact your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice or for more serious burns and incidents call an ambulance or go straight to A&E.”

Local residents are reminded to follow the safety guidelines for firework displays:

• Only buy fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent - instructions should be in English

• Don’t drink alcohol if you’re lighting fireworks

• Keep fireworks in a closed box

• Follow the instructions on each firework and be sure they’re suitable for home use

• Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper

• Stand well back

• Never go near a firework that has been lit. If it hasn’t yet gone off, it could still explode

• Never throw fireworks or put them in your pocket

• Always supervise children around fireworks

• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

• Don’t give sparklers to children under five

• Keep pets indoors.

The new Minor Illness and Injury Unit (MIIU) offers a wide range of treatments and urgent care services which will reduce the need for people to attend A&E with non-life threatening illnesses and injuries. Open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, the MIIU also aims to strengthen and improve the current out of hours GP services in the city.

The unit is led by staff with both nursing and medical backgrounds with enhanced skills, enabling them to see, treat and discharge patients independently. No appointment is necessary and the service aims to see and start patients’ treatments within 45 minutes of their arrival.

For more information on firework safety and health information around fireworks please visit the NHS Choices website at http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fireworksafety/Pages/Fireworksafety.aspx