• Know your NHS this Easter weekend

    Doctors in Devon are asking people to use the NHS wisely and not get caught out when doctors’ surgeries are closed over the Easter weekend.
    Most GP practices will be closed on Good Friday [April 3] and over the Easter weekend, reopening on Tuesday, April 7.
    However, doctors are reminding people there are still a range of different NHS services available which provide fast and effective advice and treatment.
    Dr Paul Hardy, Chair of the Western locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you have a health need that’s not an emergency over the Easter weekend, you could consider a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre, or call NHS111.
    “Pharmacists are also able to offer quick, early advice to patients who feel under the weather and can now provide some medicines usually only available on prescription.
    “We’re also suggesting people prepare for the Easter period by stocking up on plasters, pain-killers, antiseptic cream and other over the counter medicines.
    “Many minor illnesses and injuries can be treated quickly and conveniently at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet, which is important when people don’t have access to their GP.”
    There are a number of steps people can take to make sure they are prepared for the short period when GP surgeries are closed on Friday, April 3, and over the Easter weekend, opening again on Tuesday, April 7.

    These include:

    • Requesting repeat prescriptions in good time to cover the few days when surgeries are closed
    • Taking sufficient quantities of medicines away for holidays or weekend breaks
    • Stocking up the medicine cabinet with over the counter remedies for ailments such as headaches, stomach upsets and indigestion, including remedies for children
    • Checking the opening times of local pharmacies and GP surgeries.
    • Dr Hardy added: “Using the wrong service increases the demand on the local NHS and that leads to longer delays for everyone.” 

    If you find you need treatment over the Easter period, NEW Devon CCG has issued some tips to help people choose the right NHS service:

    • Try your family or self-care - for minor illnesses, combine medicines for coughs, colds or flu with plenty of rest.
    • Pharmacies - pharmacists are trained to help people with minor illnesses and can advise on medicine that can be bought over the counter. You can check your nearest pharmacy’s opening times over the Easter weekend here: www.nhs.uk.
    • NHS 111 – for non-emergency health needs, 24 hours a day, as well as help to find services. Go to www.nhs.uk or call 111. If ringing NHS111, please be patient over the Easter weekend, especially in the mornings when the service will be busy. It may take longer for your call to be answered.
    • NHS minor injuries unit [MIU] - for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries, without an appointment. For details of your nearest MIU, go to www.nhs.uk.
    • Most GP surgeries are closed on Good Friday [April 3] and over the Easter weekend, and reopen on Tuesday, April 7. Check with your GP practice for their opening times.
    • Hospital emergency departments or 999 – please only attend hospital emergency departments if you have an immediate and serious problem that cannot be dealt with by the other services. 999 is only for critical or life-threatening situations.

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