With Easter fast approaching, local health professionals are reminding people to examine their options should they or their family members become unwell over the long weekend.
Many GP practices will be closed on the bank holidays over Easter, so it is also wise for people to think about repeat prescriptions they will need before the holiday period begins.
Dr Rob Caudwell, a Southport GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “We remind people to examine their options all year round but it is even more important over the bank holidays when GP practices are closed.
“We want to make sure that people have a good Easter break and that they use the right service should they need it. We don’t want patients to become poorly and have to spend part of their holiday in hospital. Another thing we don’t want to happen is for people to run out of their medication but it is also important that they don’t over order to avoid unnecessary waste.
Dr John Caine, a GP in Parbold and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are reminding people about the services on offer to them such as advice on the NHS choices website and by calling NHS 111 which will be invaluable over Easter.
“Your pharmacist can also give you useful advice on how to deal with common bugs, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu so that you can take precautions and have a great Easter.”
The local NHS CCGs in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire are reminding people that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.
Feeling Unwell? – Examine Your Options
Across the area there are a range of health services to support people if they feel unwell or have any health concerns. There are services which you may be unfamiliar with, but could be more appropriate and convenient for you depending on your specific issue.
For minor ailments and injuries your best route to recover is likely to be self-care. There are a variety of services that can support you to do this:
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can help you prepare for many of the common illnesses like coughs and colds and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet over the holiday period.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your local area by visiting the NHS.uk website: www.nhs.uk. It also includes a symptom checker.
When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.
Your Local GP
Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses you can’t treat yourself. Your GP is available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays.
If you don’t have a GP, you can register with your local surgery. If you’re not sure where this is, you can find out at: www.nhs.uk or call 0300 77 77 007.
GP Out of Hours Service
If your local surgery is closed, you can still see a GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary.
It is very likely that you and your family will be seen and treated more quickly using the out-of-hours service than if you were waiting to see a doctor in A&E, especially at busy times.
For more information please visit www.examineyouroptions.info
For Southport and Formby pharmacy opening times over the bank holiday please visit: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/pharmacy-opening-times-over-easter-bank-holiday
For West Lancashire pharmacy opening times over the bank holiday, please visit www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/resources/patient-and-public-information/west-lancashire-pharmacy-bank-holiday-opening-times