With two bank holiday Mondays coming up over the next few weeks, health leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are reminding people where to go if they need health care while their usual GP or pharmacist is closed.
People often attend busy A&E departments if they have an urgent health care need but many illnesses or injuries can be treated more quickly and appropriately by going to a local minor injury unit, emergency pharmacist or the out-of-hours GP service – all of which are available during evenings and weekends and over bank holidays, and can be accessed through NHS 111.
Dr Jonathan Hayes, local GP and Clinical Chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
We hope that everyone enjoys the upcoming May bank holiday weekends, but if you do need healthcare urgently please remember that there’s a wide range of NHS urgent care services available.
By using the right service for your needs you’ll be helping us to help you, while also making sure that our busy A&E departments can focus on those who need them most.
If you think you need medical help urgently or aren’t sure where to go, contact NHS111 by phone or online and they will be able to provide you with immediate medical advice and if necessary direct you to the best service for your needs, such as the out-of-hours GP or a local minor injury unit.
If you have any symptoms following a COVID-19 vaccination, you can visit the NHS website for advice or call NHS111.
Emergency pharmacists are also available throughout the long weekends providing emergency prescriptions, over-the-counter medication and advice if needed, please use the NHS find a pharmacy tool to see local opening times.
People are also being encouraged to order their repeat prescriptions ahead of the bank holidays.
Ordering repeat prescriptions can be done online with many GP practices. Getting regular prescriptions online can save patients time and avoid unnecessary trips to the GP.
Dr Hayes added:
Lots of us require repeat prescriptions to help manage our health conditions. If this is you, you should check to see if you have enough medication to last you over the longer bank holiday weekend.
There are always people who run out of medication over bank holidays and while help is always available, you can avoid that last-minute panic by collecting prescriptions now.
While most GP surgeries will be closed over the bank holiday weekends, they can still be accessed out of hours through NHS 111.
Find out about local health services on our health services page.