GPs spell out the best way to get NHS help over the Spring bank holiday weekend
GP practices across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be reducing their opening hours this bank holiday weekend, but local people are being reassured that the NHS is still on hand to provide help where it’s needed.
Many practices in the region will close at the end of the day on Friday 22 May and not reopen until the morning of Tuesday 26 May.
During the long weekend, people needing timely healthcare advice, information on local services and where to go for treatment are advised to use NHS 111, either by visiting the online service at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 from any mobile or landline.
The 111 service is a one-stop-shop of local health information, with trained advisers on hand to offer tailored advice and guidance based around a person’s individual symptoms.
Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Since coronavirus became a part of everyday life in 2020, GPs in our region have adapted their ways of working so that no person in need of support or assistance has had to go without.
“And with a bank holiday ahead of us again, this same principle is being adopted to ensure that help continues to be available to those who need it.
“I know that people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire can be resilient when they need to be, and many may not think much of waiting one extra day before seeking help, but I know from experience that delaying treatment for any urgent condition is never a good idea.
“As a practicing GP, my advice to any person waking up feeling unwell on Saturday, Sunday or Monday is to call 111 and have one of the specially trained advisers use their professional judgement to decide if further help is needed.
“It’s a quick and easy process and could ultimately be the difference between getting something relatively small cleared up quickly and having to go to hospital later down the line.”
For people needing emergency care, for conditions such as broken bones, heavy bleeding, chest pain and loss of consciousness, hospital accident and emergency departments across the region will be open around-the-clock during the bank holiday weekend.
Furthermore, some GP practices that have been adapted in recent weeks to provide care to people with confirmed or suspected coronavirus will remain open on Monday 25 May.
People needing to be seen at one of these hot clinics, as the sites have become known, are still advised to call 111 in the first instance and to not turn up at the practice in person.
The opening hours of many community pharmacies on Monday 25 May will also be affected by the bank holiday, however most will be open for at least three hours for people needing to collect repeat prescriptions and urgent, on-the-day medication.
Details of which pharmacies are open and when can be found online through the ICB’s website at www.bswicb.nhs.uk.