Plan ahead for Bank Holiday healthcare

Date: 22 Aug 2016

Category: Updates

NHS leaders in Bristol are reminding residents of their options for local NHS care if they or their families feel unwell or have a minor injury over the August bank holiday weekend (27-29 August).

A range of NHS services will be available throughout the long weekend including out-of-hours GP services, pharmacies, the NHS 111 helpline and walk-in minor injuries services.

Residents are also being encouraged to help themselves by planning ahead for their healthcare needs – such as making sure they have sufficient repeat medication to last the weekend, and a well-stocked medicine cabinet to treat very minor injuries or ailments.

Full details of local non-emergency services and pharmacy opening times are available on the Bristol CCG website at www.bristolccg.nhs.uk/choosewell.

"With people now looking ahead to the August bank holiday we’re encouraging residents to take a minute to consider their healthcare needs over the long weekend. In particular we’re urging people to make sure they know the range of options available to them for the treatment of minor injuries and ailments. For example, many pharmacies in Bristol are open during the bank holiday weekend and can provide expert and confidential advice for minor ailments as well as advising people on medication, contraception and sexual health. We’re also encouraging people with long-term conditions to plan ahead by making sure they have the medication they need to last the weekend. Simple steps like these can play a big part in preventing minor problems, such as a lack of medication, turning into a crisis over the bank holiday weekend."

- Lesley Ward, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care at Bristol CCG and local GP

Top tips for bank holiday care

• Plan ahead: If you have a long-term condition that requires repeat prescriptions, you’ll want to make sure you have enough medication to last the bank holiday weekend. Act early by ordering and collecting your prescription while your GP practice and pharmacy are open.

• Self-care: Some very minor ailments, such as colds or sore throats are best treated at home. Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can plan ahead by stocking up on some healthcare essentials – paracetamol or aspirin, indigestion remedies and plasters for example. You can find all these at your local pharmacy.

• Dial 111: The NHS 111 service is available for when people urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. The service is free to dial from a mobile or landline and is staffed by trained advisers, who can assess symptoms, provide healthcare advice or direct you straight away to the local service that can help you best.

• GP: Your GP surgery should be your first port of call for non-urgent, on-going illnesses or injuries. Many GPs are open longer hours now - including early morning, late evenings and Saturdays, and offer emergency appointments for urgent cases. You can also see a GP outside of usual opening hours – call 111 to contact your local out-of-hours service.

• Pharmacists can provide expert, confidential advice and treatment for minor ailments as well as advising on medication and contraception and sexual health. Best of all, while there may be a very small wait but there is no need for an appointment. Many Bristol pharmacies are open over the Bank Holiday weekend – check the CCG website for details

• Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) treat less serious injuries such as cuts and grazes, sprains and strains and trips and falls. They’re open seven days a week and you don’t need to book an appointment. In Bristol, there is an MIU at Southmead Hospital.

• Walk-in Centres offer the same service as minor injuries units but can also deal with minor illnesses and infections as well as providing emergency contraception and advice. Centres are available at South Bristol Community Hospital and Broadmead Medical Centre, in Boots.

• Remember: A&E departments provide urgent treatment for serious, life-threatening emergencies such as stroke, severe abdominal pain, severe bleeding, severe breathing difficulties, major broken bones and serious head injuries. In these situations, don’t hesitate – go to A&E or call 999.

Pharmacy opening times