Think ahead and help your NHS this August Bank Holiday

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As the August Bank Holiday weekend approaches, NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking people to think ahead and help their local NHS by using the most appropriate local healthcare service over the bank holiday.

If you need urgent healthcare, but your condition is not critical enough for a trip to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department, consider one of the other healthcare services on offer in Sandwell and West Birmingham.

Local pharmacists can give advice on common health problems and many are open over the August Bank Holiday. Patients can find out which pharmacies are open on the CCG’s website at https://sandwellandwestbhamccg.nhs.uk/news-a-events/2050-august-bank-holiday-2018-pharmacy-opening-in-sandwell-and-west-birmingham

Typically, there is increased pressure on A&E services during bank holidays. A&E is for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions only. Visiting A&E for minor problems, like coughs, sprains and tummy upsets, not only increases waiting times for everyone. It also prevents doctors and nurses treating people in genuine emergencies.

If you require medical advice or you become unwell and your GP surgery is closed, you are advised to call NHS 111, a fast and easy way to get the right help at any time of the day. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

If you or someone you care for takes regular medication, you should ensure you have enough repeat medicines in stock to last over the August Bank Holiday when GP surgeries will be closed. 

Running out of daily medication could have serious consequences, particularly for patients who rely on them to control heart and breathing problems.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:  

“The August Bank Holiday is time best spent with friends and family, and not at the local A&E department. If you have a minor illness or ailments then you should visit the local pharmacist.

“Pharmacies are the ideal place over the Bank Holiday weekend to get over the counter remedies and advice for minor illnesses such as coughs and colds or ailments like bumps and grazes – things that don’t really need a visit to the doctor or hospital. Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who have undertaken a minimum of five years education and training; they therefore have expert knowledge of prescription and over the counter medicines.

“If you need urgent medical advice but it is not a life threatening emergency,you should call NHS 111. Their call handlers can provide a wide range of information from where to find an emergency dentist to arranging a visit from an out-of-hours doctor.”

Local NHS services’ opening hours in Sandwell and West Birmingham over the August Bank Holiday can be found on http://www.nhs.uk/service-search. This includes information on walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units. Patients can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest available services.