The local NHS is reminding patients of a few simple steps they can take to stay healthy over the Easter four day weekend.
Being ill at holiday times is never fun so local people are being urged by NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to stock up on vital medicines and make sure that repeat prescriptions are ordered in advance of the Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holiday weekend.
“Making sure you have enough medicines to see you through the Easter holidays when GP surgeries are closed can make a big difference to your health,” said Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG.
“It could also help make sure that you don’t call out doctors unnecessarily or end up going to A&E when it’s not the best place to get help.
“Often you will be able to get something from your local pharmacy or shop to care for yourself or a family member,” he said.
Pharmacists are trained in managing minor illness and can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own by resting for a few days.
Most people live within easy reach of a pharmacy that can offer fast and convenient clinical support with no appointment needed. Most community pharmacies (over 90%) now offer a private consultation room, suitable for a confidential conversation, should it be requested. Using a pharmacy for minor health concerns will help free up GP time for more urgent appointments and help reduce non-emergency A&E visits.
Many pharmacies are open over the Easter period and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk Pharmacy opening information for over the Easter holiday weekend will also be available on the CCG websites shortly: www.northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk and www.greaterhuddersfieldccg.nhs.uk
Be prepared for common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. 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: “Holidays are times when demand on emergency services increases dramatically so it is important that patients ask themselves ‘does this illness or injury really need emergency treatment?’ Sometimes self-care is the answer, especially for coughs and colds.
“A well-stocked medicine cupboard is essential, especially over holiday times. Having home remedies to hand means peace of mind. People should pop into their local pharmacies and ask for advice about essential items.”
“If you are taking regular medicines, making sure you have enough to last over the holidays by getting organised with your repeat prescriptions is essential. This could prevent you becoming ill or even avert a medical emergency.