Be prepared for busy holiday period

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PEOPLE are being advised what to should they need medical attention over the busy bank holiday period.

With Easter weekend on the horizon, followed by next Friday’s Royal Wedding and then the May bank holiday, health bosses have reminded people how to access the right help and support if they fall ill or become injured.

People who take regular medication are also being urged to order any necessary repeat prescriptions over the next two weeks and make sure they have enough supplies so that they do not run out when GP surgeries are closed on the public holidays.

People are being urged to “choose well” and select the most appropriate NHS service for the seriousness of their symptoms:

l NHS 111 – call 111 when they need help fast, but it isn’t a 999 emergency; you should call NHS 111 before you go to any other service. You will be directed to the most appropriate service for your healthcare needs. It is through this service that you would access your GP out of hours.

l Self-care – for minor illnesses, combine over-the-counter medicines with plenty of rest

l Pharmacist/chemist – for advice on illnesses and the right medicines

l Accident and Emergency or 999 – only for critical or life-threatening situations.

Berenice Groves, deputy director unplanned care for NHS County Durham and Darlington, said: “For people in County Durham and Darlington it is easy to access healthcare over the Easter Holidays and May Day bank holiday.

“Wherever possible, the 111 team will transfer patients directly to the people they need to speak to. This might include an out-of-hours doctor, a district nursing team, an emergency dentist or a 24-hour chemist.

“Accident and Emergency should only be used for symptoms of serious illness such as choking, chest pain, blacking out and blood loss as well as accidents.

“It is really important that people who take regular prescribed medication are urged to order any necessary repeat prescription to avoid running out over the bank holiday period.”