Bank holidays are busy times of year for NHS services, so it is important to remember the small steps you can take to make sure that illness doesn’t ruin your holiday, and if you are ill to use the right services.
Dr David Kelly, Chair, NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP said: “If you take regular medicines it is really important to make sure you have enough to see you through the bank holiday when GP surgeries are closed. Remember, your local pharmacy can also give advice on a wide range of conditions and can help.”
Pharmacists are qualified experts in the use of medicines and can give advice on common symptoms, medicines and healthy living. Many pharmacies are open over the bank holiday and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk Pharmacy opening information for the bank holiday weekend can also 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 mustn’t be given to children under 16) Ibuprofen must be taken with caution if you have certain conditions, such as asthma – check with your pharmacist if in doubt, and pregnant women shouldn’t take ibuprofen
- paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
- cough and cold remedies
- sore throat remedies
- anti-diarrhoea treatments
- indigestion remedies
- simple dressings and plasters.
When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, people can ring NHS 111 for advice and direction to the most appropriate service, which could be an appointment with an out-of-hours GP. 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.
People are urged to go to their local A&E department or dial 999 only 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.
Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added: “By considering the alternative options first and leaving 999 and A&E only for the most serious illness and emergencies, people can often get care closer to their homes and avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital. We would encourage patients to phone 111 for advice on where best to seek help, for example, the local pharmacy or out of hours GP service. This will leave A&E to look after serious cases and save lives.”