Many GP surgeries will be closed on Monday 7 and Monday 28 May, so it’s important that patients remember to plan ahead now and collect repeat prescriptions/medicines well ahead of the bank holiday, particularly if they are planning to go for a short break or on holiday.
Pharmacists can offer advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them, and some are open this bank holiday. Visiting the pharmacist can save you time in the waiting room and offer advice when GP practices might be closed, helping you feel better more quickly. For a full list of pharmacies that are open over the Bank holiday weekend visit https://sandwellandwestbhamccg.nhs.uk/news-a-events/1958-may-bank-holidays-2018-pharmacy-opening-in-sandwell-west-birmingham
Many people don’t realise the wide range of additional services available as pharmacists do much more than dispensing prescriptions. They offer free expert advice on a wide range of health issues, support for self-care and medicines to treat common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
Dr Nick Harding, Chair at NHS Sandwell & West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Bank holidays are best spent with friends and family, and not worrying about whether or not you have the medication you need. By taking simple measures to keep healthy – such as keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet, and knowing what services are available to you if you do become ill, will help make the best use of your time, and ensure that emergency services are left free to treat serious cases.
"If you need to use NHS services over the bank holidays, using the right one can ensure that you get the fastest, most appropriate treatment. Whilst many people automatically head to A&E when something goes wrong, this is not always the best option, particularly for minor problems such as coughs, colds, strains and sprains.
"A&E is for serious accidents and emergencies. If you've sprained your ankle, cut your finger or are suffering with a cough or cold, you will get faster and more appropriate advice elsewhere.
“If you only have a minor illness or ailments then visit your local pharmacist. They can help with expert advice and over-the-counter remedies. If you need urgent medical advice but it is not a life threatening emergency then call NHS 111. Their call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to getting you an out-of-hours' doctor.”