Health leaders in Bristol are urging residents to consider their healthcare needs in advance of Easter, an extremely busy time for the local health service, especially A&E which sees an increase in non-emergency attendances.
The call to action comes following an already high level of demand for services and increased admissions from respiratory linked conditions.
Local residents are being encouraged to ‘do their bit’ to help reduce pressure on local health system by ensuring they have the necessary medication at home to treat minor cuts, coughs, and colds and if they need medical advice to choose the most appropriate service for their needs.
"It’s important to take measures to stay well over the bank holiday and keep an eye out for your neighbours and those in the community who are more vulnerable. Minor conditions can deteriorate quickly particularly among the elderly and those with long-term conditions such as diabetes or COPD. If you start to feel unwell it is important that you get medical advice from your pharmacist or your out of hours GP quickly and with reduced services this weekend due to the Easter bank holiday it’s important to make sure you have the right medication to hand. If you need medical advice consider the most appropriate service for your needs; don’t forget that your local pharmacist can recommend treatments for common ailments such as coughs, colds and sore throats and your local minor injury unit can treat broken bones, head injuries and minor cuts."
- Dr Martin Jones, Clinical Chair of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group
Advice for people who need a repeat prescription
Health leaders are asking residents with long term health conditions, or those taking regular medication, to ensure they have enough medication to last the long weekend - as some NHS services, such as GPs, will be closed from Thursday 24 March and will only reopen on Tuesday morning (29 March). Having enough medication to hand will prevent your condition deteriorating, which could lead to a hospital admission.
Emergency pharmacies will be open on the bank holidays offering expert healthcare advice as well as emergency contraception and emergency prescriptions.
Full details of pharmacists' opening times are available on the Bristol CCG website.
Advice for parents
Young children are among the most likely to attend A&E for non-emergency injuries or illnesses, and could often receive the care they need from local NHS services without a hospital visit.
Local Minor Injury Units can provide emergency healthcare if you have suffered a fall, need stiches or an x-ray and waiting times usually shorter than in A&E and you will be seen by specialist practitioners.
When to go to A&E
A&E and 999 are for serious, life-threatening conditions such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, severe chest pain, head injuries or a suspected stroke or heart attack. In these circumstances, don’t hesitate – call 999 for immediate assistance.