Local GPs, Doctors and nurses across the Fylde coast are urging people to use health services wisely this August bank holiday weekend.
On Monday 31 August, many local practices and pharmacies will operate reduced opening times, with others remaining open during this period. As such, health professionals are asking local people to plan ahead and make sure that they seek advice and collect any repeat prescriptions they need ahead of time, ensuring they make those vital preparations for a safe and healthy break.
As the country entered lockdown in March 2020, urgent and emergency attendances at Blackpool Victoria Hospital dropped significantly, but since that time the number of people coming to the service has steadily increased, with July and August seeing a similar number of people. However, with social distancing and other safety measures, it is vital that people only attend the service when it is absolutely necessary.
Dr Jim Gardner, Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is vital that people choose the relevant service for their health and care needs this August bank holiday weekend.
“I urge local residents to use the Same Day Health Centre, GP out of hours service or their local pharmacy if their health issue is not of an urgent nature. If unsure, call NHS 111 and they will advise you based on your symptoms or issue. They may also be able to book you an appointment at the appropriate service, which means you won’t have to sit and wait for long periods of time.
“Over the last few weeks, we have seen a steady and consistent rise in the number of patients coming to our emergency departments. This is made even more challenging in the context of safety measures to protect against Coronavirus, such as social distancing between both patients and staff wherever possible and increased cleaning and decontamination times.
“If you’re out and about enjoying the extended weekend, please remember to adhere to any social distancing guidance, wear a face covering if necessary, wash your hands regularly and avoid any crowded situations.
“Please remember to only use the Emergency Department when it’s just that – an emergency. However, if you do feel ill during the bank holiday, you can still seek advice by calling NHS 111.”
- Self-care– A lot of illnesses or symptoms can be treated in your home by using a well-stocked medicine cabinet and by getting plenty of rest.
- NHS 111– This 24 hour, seven day service offers confidential health advice and information over the phone. To access the NHS 111 service text-phone, call 18001 111.
- Pharmacist (chemist)– Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional who can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Most now have a quiet area away from other customers where you can speak to the pharmacist more privately. A list of pharmacies open over the bank holiday is available here.
- GP – Your own GP is the best person to speak to about persistent health problems and illnesses that won’t go away. These include persistent coughs, joint pain and long term symptoms that haven’t suddenly deteriorated to a point where you are extremely unwell.
- Emergency Department or 999 – Hospital emergency departments provide immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. If you call 999 for an ambulance the telephone adviser will arrange appropriate assistance for the patient based on information about the illness or injury.