With the Easter weekend fast approaching, many will be busy planning on getting out and about, getting away, or spending time with friends and family.
While we appreciate people want to be able to enjoy their Easter break without having to worry about how to access care if they need it, with health and care services still under pressure in Somerset, we are asking where possible and practical, people plan ahead to help reduce any extra demand on NHS during this busy time.
To help people access the healthcare they need, the NHS in Somerset has put together some advice to help people understand what’s open and to choose the right health services during the busy holiday period.
While some pharmacies and healthcare settings are opening as usual over Easter, most GP practices will be closed for four days from Friday 15 April to Monday 18 April, with normal opening hours resuming on Tuesday.
To avoid adding further pressure on already busy health and care services, it is important people have enough of their repeat prescription to last over the Easter holiday and, if not, to order these in time to avoid running out. Even if you don’t take regular medication, it is worth checking you have a well stocked medicine cabinet covers which minor ailments.
While it’s best to be prepared, many community pharmacies will be open to support people across Somerset. As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacists can help you and your family with a wide range of minor health conditions, offering clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as hay fever, coughs and colds, skin infections as well as aches and pains.
For those who may be away from home over the holidays and need to speak to a GP, people are reminded to contact their own GP practice during opening hours in the first instance. They will be able to offer an online consultation and advice. This advice also applies to visitors travelling to Somerset. All GP practices now offer remote consultations and can be contacted for advice.
The NHS is here for anyone who needs it. Visiting 111.nhs.uk or calling NHS 111 will help people to get the right medical advice or treatment more quickly and, if needed, they will be able to arrange for individuals to be seen safely by the service that best meets their healthcare needs.
For injuries which are not life-threatening there are also a number of Minor Injury Units in Somerset which can help with a wide range of conditions including broken bones, throat and chest infections, eye infections, urinary infections, emergency contraception, sprains, and strains, as well as wounds and bites.
For life-threatening emergencies, including:
- loss of consciousness
- acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
- chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
- major trauma such as a road traffic accident.
People should continue to call 999 or go to their nearest A&E. If in doubt call NHS 111 for advice, they can assess what level of care you need and arrange for you to be seen at a local emergency department, if suitable.
If you do need to visit a healthcare setting over the Easter break, please remember to follow the health and safety guidance in place, that includes being asked to wear a mask to help keep everyone safe. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home and avoid passing it on to other people, particularly those who are more vulnerable.
Health advice and information is also available on the NHS website or from your local GP practice website which links to a range of online services and, in most cases, you can order repeat prescriptions online. For children’s health advice download the HANDi App, available for Android phones on Google Play or on the App store for iPhone and iPad
Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy.
For a list of pharmacies in Somerset open over the Easter bank holiday visit our pharmacy page on this website.
For full pharmacy rotas over the Easter bank holiday in the southwest, see: https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours/
See Minor Injury Unit opening times: https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/minor-injury-units/