Patients from across Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to help the NHS to help them by using healthcare services wisely over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The area’s five NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – Great Yarmouth and Waveney, North Norfolk, West Norfolk, Norwich and South Norfolk – are reminding people that going to the right place for treatment and advice will mean they get the help they need more quickly.
For minor injuries and illnesses, people should self-care at home using a well-stocked first aid kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters and painkillers.
A wide range of healthcare advice on minor illnesses, infections, headaches, emergency contraception and coughs and colds, is also available from pharmacies, many of which are open over the weekend.
If it is urgent but not an emergency, you can call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the freephone number is manned by trained advisors, supported by clinicians, who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.
The NHS walk-in centre at Rouen House in Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. A nurse-led centre, it can help with a range of issues, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, flu-like symptoms, skin complaints and stomach problems. You can simply walk in, without an appointment.
The minor injuries unit based at Cromer Hospital in Mill Road is also open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. Patients can turn up without an appointment and receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures.
Finally, anyone who needs a repeat prescription is being encouraged to order and collect it in advance of the bank holiday weekend. But if you have a problem during the weekend, then go to your pharmacist who will help you to get medication until the surgeries open again rather than heading into A&E.
Pharmacies also able to offer advice on a range of minor ailments, such as coughs, colds, hayfever and rashes. People don’t need to make an appointment but can just pop into their local pharmacy who will provide immediate advice or ensure they have an onward referral to the right service.
Clinical pharmacist John Higgins works in a team based in Norwich GP practices, supporting GPs in prescribing and working with patients to ensure they have the right prescription medicines.
He said: “Most GP surgeries will be closed over the Bank Holiday and whilst there are always pharmacies open, prescription medicines must be ordered in good time.
“Your local pharmacist is a valuable resource - they can provide advice, offer services such as contraception, over-the-counter medicines and of course can provide repeat prescriptions. If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, ask them if they need help collecting their medications.”
A list of pharmacies open over on Bank Holiday Monday will be available on your local CCG website. Please double check for any changes by calling the pharmacy before you travel