People living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire are being urged to get ready for the approaching Easter holidays in order to help ease demand on health services across the region.

As GP surgeries prepare for the Easter break, health and care leaders are asking people to check they have the essential medication they need to see them through the holiday period and make sure they know where to go for healthcare advice and treatment.

They are also being advised that for non-urgent minor conditions, pharmacists are equipped to give advice on over the counter medications and treatments.

Bank holidays can be extremely busy for the NHS and local people are being asked to use services wisely so that accident and emergency departments and ambulance services are available for those who need them most.

Most GP surgeries across the region will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday on 19 and 22 April, although pre-booked appointments are available at some surgeries and walk in centres and some urgent treatment centres will also be open.

Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and Chair of BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire’s Clinical Board, said: “Everybody wants to enjoy the Easter holidays, so it’s a good idea to do as much as possible to prepare for them in advance – particularly when it comes to staying well. We don’t want people to run out of their medication, become poorly and miss out on an enjoyable break, so do make sure you have enough repeat medicine to last over the long weekend.”

“If you are unlucky enough to be ill over the Easter holiday, remember you can phone 111. NHS 111 is the Freephone number to call should you need urgent medical advice when your GP surgery is closed. You’ll speak with a trained advisor who will help you. You can also access NHS 111 online, 24 hours a day.”

Other things people across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire can do to stay healthy and prepare for the Easter break include:

  • Make sure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked and includes essentials such as sticking plasters, paracetamol, anti-diarrhoea medicine and indigestion remedy. Having these items to hand could save you time and the stress of a mad dash to your local pharmacy or shop.
  • Remember that, for non-urgent, minor conditions, pharmacists are equipped to give advice on over the counter medications and treatments. A list of pharmacists open this Easter can be found on regional CCG websites at : www.bathandnortheastsomersetccg.nhs.uk,www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk,www.swindonccg.nhs.ukor on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website atwww.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours
  • Parents can access expert advice about common childhood illnesses and how to treat them via HANDi App – a mobile app which is free and can be downloaded to any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.

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