How do you access out-of-hours GP services? - SEE VIDEO

The star of a brand new health film has reminded Derbyshire people that there is always a local GP service available - even when their own surgery is closed.

The reminder came this week from 71-year-old Ian Mason, who pointed out that the GP out-of-hours service provided by Derbyshire Health United (DHU) was available in the evening, at weekends and during bank holidays for people needing non-emergency health advice when their surgery was closed.

Dr.Ben Milton of Youlgrave Surgery.

Dr.Ben Milton of Youlgrave Surgery.

And to get the help they needed, all peopled had to do was call the free NHS 111 service, also provided by DHU.

A retired headteacher, New Mills resident Ian was asked to take part in the three-minute film by NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which plans and buys healthcare for more than 288,000 people.

A member of the CCG’s Lay Reference Group, he said: “Many patients don’t know what to do if they feel ill in the evening or at the weekend. Lots of people still haven’t heard of 111 and the out-of-hours service, and many of those who have think there’s a charge.

“Yet the service, which is provided by experienced health professionals, doesn’t cost a penny. People who have called 111 realise how well it works and are recommending it to others so our job is to keep raising awareness.”

The role of the out-of-hours service and 111 is explained fully in the video, which is available to watch at and

The film also gives lots of good advice on staying warm and well this winter.

Featuring CCG chair Dr Ben Milton, the video asks patients to ease the strain on GP practices and A & E during the winter by heeding some common sense advice.

People at risk of falling seriously ill if they catch flu are urged to make an appointment with their GP to have their free jab. Those eligible for the vaccine include:

• Pregnant women

• People aged 65 and over

• Anyone living with a health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints.

Patients suffering from common illnesses such as coughs and colds should stay at home and take over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol.

Ian said: “I really enjoyed my screen debut and would be happy to do similar things in the future. Anything that eases pressure on hospitals at this critical time of year has to be worth doing.”

Dr Milton, who is filmed chatting with Ian, added: “He’s a natural on screen and we’re really grateful to him for helping us communicate these important messages.”

Ian was headteacher at Harpur Hill Primary School, Buxton for 17 years before retiring. He has been involved with the NHS since 2004, when he started a five-year spell as chair of governors at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport. He has been a member of the NHS North Derbyshire CCG Lay Reference Group for two years, having previously been a member of the former NHS Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust.

The Lay Reference Group is made up of people from many walks of life. It acts as the CCG’s critical friend, advising it on how to improve healthcare and involve the public in its decision making.