Health advice for the bank holiday weekend

Being ill is never fun, especially over a bank holiday; that’s why it is important that you order any repeat prescriptions you will need ahead of your GP practice closing on Monday (31 August).

Forgetting to get repeat prescriptions puts a lot of extra work on GP out-of-hours services over bank holidays when people realise they have run out of their regular medication and need to get more supplies urgently.

It’s often easy to overlook the bank holiday when it comes to ordering repeat prescriptions, but forgetting to get enough supplies can put a lot of strain on out-of-hours services which are there to deal with urgent health problems – not to issue repeat prescriptions.

If you have a repeat prescription, please check that you have enough to last over the three days that your GP practice is closed. That way you don’t risk getting ill if you run out or have to take up an out-of-hours GP’s time to issue another prescription.

As well as making sure you have enough repeat prescriptions, people are also being urged to only call 999 for an ambulance or go to hospital A&E departments in a medical emergency.

The NHS 111 telephone service is available when you need medical help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency.

When you call 111 you will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that can help you best – that could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre or urgent care centre; community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist.

NHS 111 is available 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones.

Many patients who attend A&E or call 999 could be treated more quickly by their GP, their local pharmacist, or even by themselves with basic self-care, first aid or telephone advice from NHS 111.

An essential medicine cabinet should include:

  • pain relief, such as paracetamol and aspirin (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)
  • paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
  • mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • cold relief products
  • rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting, to use if feeling dehydrated after a bout of sickness or diarrhoea
  • indigestion remedy
  • travel sickness tablets for family trips
  • tweezers and sharp scissors to remove splinters and cut bandages
  • a thermometer to check for fever
  • a range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings for minor cuts, sprains and bruises.

With prescribed medicines and those bought over-the-counter, follow the advice of the pharmacist, doctor or nurse. You should always read the instructions and never go over the suggested dose.

Pharmacy opening times for 31 August 2015

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Filed under Chair's blog: Dr David Kelly

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