Ahead of long Easter weekend, senior doctor reassures people the NHS will be open for those who need it

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire in need of health and care services over the Easter period are being reminded that the NHS will be open and able to help.

Many pharmacies and GP practices in the region will be closed from the end of the day on Thursday 1 April until after the bank holiday on Tuesday 6 April.

However, during this time, the NHS will still be available for those who need it, with services such as NHS 111, minor injuries units, urgent treatment centres and hospital emergency departments remaining open as usual.

A select number of pharmacies across the region will also be open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday for people needing help for minor illness and injuries, urgent prescriptions and quick advice on medication.

People requiring a new supply of medicine prior to Easter are advised to submit their repeat prescriptions by Monday 29 March, to allow pharmacies time to process the order before the long weekend.

Dr Andrew Girdher, ICB Clinical Chair, said: “Although it is hard to believe, this is the second Easter period since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and, like the first time around, the NHS will be open.

“Health and care staff across the region will be on hand to provide support where it is needed, especially for those people in need of urgent and emergency care.

“However, people need to be aware that these services will be busy and that both clinical space and waiting room space will be reduced because of the ongoing need social distance.

“Choosing right will not only help people access care quicker, but it will also support our teams of hard-working health and care professionals in safely looking after those most in need.”

People with less serious conditions, or unsure of what service is best for them, should always think about using NHS 111 before leaving home.

By calling 111, or visiting 111.nhs.uk, people can be directed to the most appropriate source of care, which could be an out-of-hours pharmacy, a telephone call with a GP or, where appropriate, a timed arrival slot at one of our region’s emergency departments or urgent treatment centres.

Any person with a coronavirus vaccine appointment due for the Easter weekend should attend as planned, unless told otherwise.

Information about local health and care services, including details of the opening times for all of the region’s pharmacies, can be found on our website.

Health and care advice, as well as details of how to care for minor injuries and illnesses at home, can also be found online at www.nhs.uk