As the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (Friday 7 April – Monday 10 April 2023) approaches, we are expecting to see an increase in demand for our urgent care services.
Bank holidays are traditionally very busy times for hospital emergency departments and with two bank holidays ahead of several days of industrial action we are expecting our hospitals to be under significant pressure.
To help keep our patients safe and ensure we can deliver care to those who need it, we are reminding those in our local communities to only attend A&E this Bank Holiday if their medical need is serious or life-threatening, and instead make use of alternative NHS services including NHS 111, local pharmacies, walk-in centres and GP practices.
Anyone who needs medical support over the Easter weekend but does not have a life-threatening illness or injury, should use NHS 111 by going online to www.111.nhs.uk or by simply dialling 111.You will be connected to a trained professional who can offer advice and signpost you to the best and most appropriate local service out of hours, including GPs, walk-in-centres and pharmacies, 24 hours a day. These alternative services are also likely to be able to see you quicker than A&E during peak periods.
Where GP surgeries are closed, people are urged to treat illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets from home where possible, using the advice of a pharmacist or NHS 111. You can find out when your local pharmacy will be open over the weekend or find another nearby by visiting the NHS website.
Hanadi Asalieh, Clinical Director of Medicine and Complex Care at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare, said:
“Our team will be working tirelessly this bank holiday weekend to ensure everyone who needs urgent or emergency care receives it as quickly as possible and we would like to thank our patients and those in the local community for working with us.
“If you need medical support over the Easter weekend but do not have a life-threatening illness or injury, please, help us help you and use NHS 111 online as well as local pharmacies, walk-in-centres and GP practices to help us keep our services readily available for those with serious or emergency conditions, such as heart attacks or stroke. Anyone with an urgent or life-threatening condition should continue to call 999 as normal.”
Alternative NHS services:
Walk-in centre – with no appointment necessary your local walk-in centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks.
NHS 111 – NHS 111 is a free phone service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It offers a one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms with advice from a trained professional. It is also available online 24 hours a day at www.111.nhs.uk.
Self-care – people suffering from minor ailments should treat themselves at home or visit their local pharmacy.
Pharmacies – your local pharmacist is qualified to offer advice on health issues and medication as well as treat headaches, an upset stomach and other common illnesses.