Feeling unwell? Choose Well this May bank holiday

Now that lockdown is easing and more of us are out and about, NHS services are very busy. You can help us, help you this May bank holiday by making sure you ‘Choose Well’ and if you are injured or unwell, use the health service that best meets your needs.

This might be your local community pharmacy. Pharmacists are experts in medicines and can help you and your family with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. They can also advise you on what to keep in a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.

Michael Lennox, Chief Executive, Community Pharmacy Somerset said:

“Our community pharmacies in Somerset are there and able to support over the busy bank holiday weekend, with our usual widespread, normal opening on Saturday and over 20 pharmacies open on the Sunday and Monday itself.

“Alongside NHS 111, pharmacy is the easy access point to minor illness and injury care, so please do check the website for the pharmacy open nearest to you

GP surgeries will be closed as normal over the bank holiday weekend and will reopen on Tuesday 1 June. However, while your GP is closed there are still other options available to you.

Minor Injury Units 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. Somerset has Minor Injury Units in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital (near Glastonbury).

For urgent, but not life-threatening, health advice and treatment 24 hours a day, contact 111 first by going online at https://111.nhs.uk/ or calling 111. They will make sure you get help from the most appropriate service for your healthcare needs, reducing unnecessary or wasted journeys.

Dr Alex Murray, Clinical Director, NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group explained,

“NHS services are very busy at the moment, so please think ‘111 First’ and contact 111.nhs.uk online or call 111 if you need support that isn’t an emergency. They will assess you and get you to the service that best meets your needs including Minor Injury Units, emergency dental services, pharmacy and emergency services.

If needed, they can book an arrival slot for you to be seen safely at your local A&E. They can also send an ambulance if your condition is serious or life-threatening.” 

Michelle Ivens, Project Manager at the Yeovil District Hospital, added:

“We can see the appointment slots booked through NHS 111 online on our system and can then check the patient’s information at the click of a button. It’s really informative and greatly helpful to clinicians; it also saves patients from having to repeat their symptoms over and over again.”

If you do have a serious or life-threatening emergency, you should still call 999 as normal, or go to your nearest A&E. You should go to an A&E if you or someone else has a life-threatening emergency, such as:

  • 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
  • stroke
  • major trauma such as a road traffic accident

If in doubt, call NHS 111 for advice in the first instance. They will be able to assess what level of care you need, including emergency care.

You can also find additional health advice and information 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 you can download the HANDi App, available for Android phones on Google Play or on the App store for iPhone and iPad.

Further information