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Five tips for health care this bank holiday weekend

Last updated: 27/08/2020

It’s summer bank holiday this weekend (29-31 August), but while GP surgeries and some pharmacies may be closed on Monday, there are plenty of services that will remain open, giving people continued access to the right care for their needs.

Dr Martin Jones, local GP and Medical Director at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“‘We hope everyone enjoys the bank holiday, but if you do need medical advice urgently it’s good to know that out of hours GPs, minor injury units and more are there for you throughout the weekend.

“All services have comprehensive measures in place to protect patients and staff from coronavirus and we’re grateful to the public for continuing to observe social distancing guidance and use face coverings when attending a health service site.”

Health and care services are still available to provide support when you need it. Here are five things you need to know about healthcare this bank holiday weekend:

1. GP services are still available through NHS 111

The majority of GP surgeries will be closed over the bank holiday weekend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek advice from a GP. There is an out-of-hours GP service available during evenings, weekends and over bank holidays which can be accessed through the NHS111 service. You can contact NHS 111 at any time using 111.nhs.uk or calling 111.

2. Pharmacies are open

Your local pharmacist is your healthcare expert on the high street. No appointment is needed and they can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common conditions.

Pharmacists are now also able to directly prescribe prescription only medicines to people with certain conditions as part of a new service. This includes prescriptions for urinary tract Infections, toddler conjunctivitis, impetigo and mild dermatitis or eczema. If a pharmacist isn’t able to offer advice or treatment, they will help you decide if you need to contact a GP or another health service.

While some pharmacies will close, many will remain open or offer reduced opening hours. You can find out opening arrangements on the NHS website or the find a pharmacy tool

3. NHS 111 is the best place for urgent care

You can’t predict when you might need urgent care, but you can access immediate healthcare advice and treatment when you need it. NHS111 is available at any time for professional advice at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.

NHS 111 can also support you if your dental practice isn’t open and you think you need urgent dental treatment. If a clinical appointment is necessary, this will be arranged at an urgent dental care centre.

Using NHS111 will help you get the treatment you need more quickly, and ensure A&E departments focus on treating people with the most serious and life-threatening conditions.

4. Minor Injuries Units and Urgent Treatment Centre are here for you

If you have a sprain, strain, minor burns, or broken bone, our Minor Injuries Units in Yate and Clevedon and the Urgent Treatment Centre in South Bristol will continue to be open from 8am to 8pm throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Each location can treat children as well as adults, and you will usually be seen much more quickly than at A&E

All facilities are following social distancing measures, ensuring the use of face masks and stringent hand hygiene to ensure staff and the people they care for are kept as safe as possible. Staff from each facility have created short videos to show people what to expect when they visit.

The videos and links to further information about service changes at each facility can be found on the Sirona care & health website.

5. Stay alert to coronavirus

We all need to stay alert to coronavirus. If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you need to self-isolate immediately and arrange a test to see if you have coronavirus.

You can choose to take the test at a dedicated site near you today and get your result tomorrow or be sent a home test kit. More information about arranging a test is available at gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

To protect yourself and others, and help control the virus, remember to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • Keep to social distancing rules - at least a metre away from people not in your household