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Bank holiday healthcare

People are urged to plan ahead to care for the health and wellbeing of them and their family this bank holiday.

Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants patients living in the city to do their bit to help avoid unnecessary demand on life-saving services such as accident and emergency (A&E) over the extended weekend.

Too many people think that because it is a bank holiday, A&E is the only place to get healthcare. Instead, there are many options available to deal with issues from minor injuries and illnesses to running out of prescribed medication.

People are being encouraged to plan ahead so they don’t need to disrupt their weekend dealing with an illness or medication shortage. Including:

  • being familiar with your GP surgery’s opening hours as many offer appointments in the evening and on Saturdays during bank holidays
  • making sure regular prescription medication will not run out this weekend by requesting a repeat prescription in good time. Patients need to check with their practice for deadlines for repeat prescriptions.
  • stocking a home medicine cabinet with over-the-counter remedies to deal with stomach upsets, scrapes and grazes, headaches and colds.

Accident and emergency is for serious injuries or life threatening illnesses only such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, major loss of blood and loss of consciousness.

Dr Avi Prasad co-chair of Leicester City CCG and clinical lead for urgent care, said: “I urge people to consider all of the options available to them should they need to seek medical advice this bank holiday weekend.

“A&E becomes incredibly busy during public holidays. As A&E is only intended to treat those who are seriously ill, these patients will always be treated before those who may turn up with more minor injuries or illnesses, such as coughs, colds and minor cuts and bruises. We recommend people are prepared for these instances during the holiday by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet, make a note of their GP’s opening hours and familiarise themselves with their nearest local pharmacy.”

People who need healthcare this weekend should instead consider one of the following options depending on their symptoms:

  • stay at home, rest and take over-the-counter medicines for headaches, colds, coughs and flu. A pharmacist can give advice on what medicines to take. A list of pharmacies open over the bank holiday can be found at http://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/leicesters-health/pharmacy-opening-times-to-august-2013/
  • if you’re not sure how serious your problem is call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for confidential advice and signposting to services which can help;
  • your GP may be offering appointments over the bank holiday weekend, call and check;
  • you can request to see a GP out-of-hours by calling your surgery as normal and dialling the number on their answerphone message. If you are not registered with a GP practice or cannot get through call 0845 045 0411;
  • for minor illnesses and injuries such as cuts, sprains, strains, backache or vomiting where you cannot wait for your GP surgery to reopen you can visit an NHS walk-in centre, a minor injury unit orLeicester’s Urgent Care Centre at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

It is vital patients choose the right service for them. This ensures life-saving services are not under unnecessary pressure and means patients avoid long waits for treatment because they’re in the wrong place.

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