The NHS is still open this bank holiday, even if your nearest GP practice isn’t
With many GP practices across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire reducing their opening hours this bank holiday weekend, doctors are offering reassurances that help will still be available for those who need it.
People needing quick healthcare advice, information on local services and where to go for treatment during the Early May bank holiday should call NHS 111, or use its online equivalent by visiting 111.nhs.uk.
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.
With most calls to NHS 111 connected in a matter of minutes, the service is also the best port-of-call for any person concerned they may be showing signs of coronavirus.
A number of hot GP practices in each of the ICB’s three catchment areas of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be open as normal on Friday 8 May.
These sites have been specially adapted to only see and treat potential coronavirus patients, as well as people living in the same household as those with symptoms.
While access to these hot clinics is normally managed by individual GP practices, the NHS 111 service will be able to arrange appointments for patients whose usual practice is closed because of the bank holiday.
Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “In much the same way that injuries and illnesses do not stop for coronavirus, they do not stop for bank holidays either, which is why it’s so important not to wait if you become unwell this weekend.
“Seeking help early on is always the most sensible approach to take when it comes to healthcare, and with robust services still operating this weekend, there’s no reason to wait until Monday before picking up the phone.
“I know some people may think they are doing the NHS a favour at this time by not coming forward with everyday ailments but, as a clinician, I can assure you that is not the case.
“It’s only by patients being proactive and letting us know when something isn’t quite right that we can keep people well, independent and, perhaps most importantly, happy at home.”
Emergency departments at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District Hospital will be open around-the-clock during the bank holiday weekend for people needing urgent help with the most serious health conditions.
Any person experiencing chest pains, heavy and persistent bleeding, broken bones, any of the symptoms of stroke or any other emergency condition should not hesitate visiting their nearest emergency department or calling 999 straight away.
The opening hours of many community pharmacies on Friday 8 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.