With only four weeks left until Easter, health leaders in Bristol are urging people to plan ahead with some simple steps to stay happy and healthy over the long bank holiday weekend (14-17 April).
These include collecting repeat prescriptions well in advance of the holiday and making sure that home medicine cabinets are stocked up with the basics needed to treat very minor ailments and illnesses.
People are also being reminded to check their options for urgent healthcare and to use A&E and 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies only.
Services such as the urgent care and walk-in centres in Bristol, out-of-hours GPs and emergency pharmacists will all be available over the bank holiday weekend and people who aren’t sure which service to use can get advice and guidance from NHS 111, their local NHS website or the NHS Service Finder app.
"Easter is always a busy time for local health services, which makes it all the more important that people take a few steps to prepare for their healthcare needs. In particular, we’re urging people who have repeat prescriptions to make sure they have enough medication to last the long weekend, when many pharmacies and GP practices will be closed. It’s also important that people who need urgent care use the right service for their needs and seek advice from 111 or the CCG website if they’re unsure. By choosing carefully, people can get the treatment they need sooner while also helping to relieve pressure on busy emergency services."
- Dr Lesley Ward, Urgent Care lead at Bristol CCG and local GP
Checklist for the bank holiday weekend
- If you need medical help urgently but aren’t sure where to go, visit our right care, first time pages or call NHS 111 at any time for advice and guidance.
- Remember that many GPs and pharmacies will be closed from the end of the day on Thursday 13 April to the morning of Tuesday 18 April, so pick up repeat prescriptions well in advance.
- If you need to see your GP for a routine appointment before the bank holiday, make sure you book it in good time.
- Make sure you can treat very minor ailments at home by stocking up your home medicine cabinet with basics such as painkillers, antihistamines, oral rehydration salts and indigestion remedies. You should also make sure you have a basic first aid kit to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises. Ask your pharmacist for advice and make sure that all medicines are kept out of the reach of children.
- If you need advice caring for a poorly child, call 111. It’s free from mobiles as well as landlines and available 24/7. The free NHS HANDi App is also available to download and provides expert advice and guidance on common childhood illnesses.
- Remember that emergency pharmacies will be available throughout the bank holiday weekend and can dispense emergency prescriptions and morning after contraception if required.
- Use A&E and 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies only, such as unconsciousness, severe chest pain or strokes. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 first.