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NHS urges the public to use services wisely this May Bank Holiday Weekend

4 weeks ago

NHS urges the public to use services wisely this May Bank Holiday Weekend
Aintree University Hospital

The North West’s medical director has urged the public to use services wisely this bank holiday weekend (Saturday 4 to Monday 6 May 2024) to ensure critical NHS services are available for those most in need.

The NHS typically sees increased demand over bank holidays and the early May bank holiday is no exception, as 111 phone services and A&E departments see high numbers of people contacting them.

Dr Michael Gregory, Regional Medical Director at NHS England North West, recommends the public uses 111.nhs.uk to get quick health advice in the first instance.

The online service works the same as the 111 phone service and is already popular with people who want quick advice about the best options for getting the care they need.  These can include getting a call back from a trained clinician or nurse, booking them an appointment in A&E, or providing advice.  

Dr Gregory said:

“This weekend is another extremely busy time for NHS staff and we are extremely grateful for them working tirelessly over this bank holiday weekend and the days after to ensure all those that need care receive it. The public can help us by using the right service for their needs, including 111 online for quick and easy medical help.”

NHS 111 online is not available for children under 5. People looking for urgent medical help for under 5s should use the 111 phone line. 

Paul Johnstone, 111 Senior Service Delivery Manager at North West Ambulance Service, said:

“In the event of a life or limb threatening emergency people should always continue to call 999 or attend A&E, but for non-emergency health needs the public should make 111.nhs.uk their first port of call.  

“It helps to direct people to the right service quickly, as well as providing medical advice.  It’s just one of the ways that we are trying to get people to the right service first time whilst keeping urgent and emergency services free for the most seriously ill and injured patients.”  

NHS 111 can help you with:  

  • Where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do  
  • How to find general health information and advice  
  • Where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine  
  • How to get a repeat prescription  
  • Getting emergency dental appointments  

You should still ring 999 if you or someone else experience:  

  • Signs of a heart attack like pain like a heavy weight in the centre of your chest  
  • Signs of stroke such as your face dropping on one side  
  • Difficulty breathing  
  • Heavy bleeding that won’t stop  
  • Seizures  
  • Or sudden and rapid swelling of the eyes, lips, throat or tongue  

Community pharmacists can also provide advice and treatment for a range of minor conditions.  UnderPharmacy First, participating pharmacies can provide easy access to prompt advice and treatment including prescription medicines, where appropriate, for seven common conditions.

The common conditions covered are:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bites and stings
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI) in women   

Find more information on the NHS website.

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