Know where to go for health advice this bank holiday

For many the August bank holiday is the last chance to enjoy what is left of the British summer, but whatever your plans, don’t let falling ill ruin your long weekend.

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reminding people that a number of local pharmacies will be open over the bank holiday. This means that patients can still access healthcare advice and support for common conditions from trained health professionals when their own GP practice is closed. Pharmacists can offer advice on common ailments such as coughs, colds and aches and pains.

Pharmacy opening information for the bank holiday can be found on the CCG websites: www.northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk and www.greaterhuddersfieldccg.nhs.uk

The pharmacy is also the perfect place to stock up medicine cabinets. Useful items to have handy include:

  • pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)
  • paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
  • cough and cold remedies
  • sore throat remedies
  • anti-diarrhoea treatments
  • antihistamines
  • indigestion remedies
  • simple dressings and plasters.

When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, you can ring NHS 111 for advice and direction to the most appropriate service. NHS 111 is available 24-hours-a-day; 365-days-a-year and calls are free.

In North Kirklees, there is the walk in centre based in the emergency department of Dewsbury and District Hospital which is open 9am to 8pm (Mon-Fri) and 10am to 6pm (weekends and bank holidays), which can provide health support and advice to anyone who comes through the door.

Don’t forget, people should only use A&E or dial 999 in critical or life-threatening situations. For example:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds

In the case of suspected heart attack or stroke call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.

It is really important that anyone with a long-term health condition, needing regular medication, orders any repeat prescriptions they need ahead of their GP practice closing on Monday (28 August).

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, said: “During bank holidays we tend to see an increase in calls to our out-of-hours GP service from people who have simply forgotten to re-order prescription medicines such as asthma inhalers. Forgetting to get enough supplies can put a lot of strain on the service, which is there to deal with urgent health problems.”

“The message is simple: 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.”

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

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “A lot of people don’t realise how much time and money they cost the local NHS when they use A&E for minor illnesses. A&E is for accident and emergency cases only, such as severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, significant head injuries and broken bones.

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.”

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