DOCTORS in South Gloucestershire are urging people to plan ahead to stay healthy over the upcoming Easter weekend.

Many GPs and pharmacies will be closed from the end of the day on Thursday, April 13 to the morning of Tuesday, April 18, and health professionals are asking people to be extra organised as a result.

Advice includes collecting repeat prescriptions in advance of the bank holiday weekend, and making sure that home medicine cabinets are well stocked up.

People are also reminded to check their options for urgent healthcare and to use A&E and 999 for serious or life-threatening emergencies only.

Dr Jon Hayes, South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Clinical Chair and GP, said: “Easter is always a busy time for local health services, which makes it all the more important that people take a few steps to prepare for their healthcare needs.

“In particular, we’re urging people who have repeat prescriptions to make sure they have enough medication to last the long weekend, when many pharmacies and GP practices will be closed.

He added that it is also important for people who need urgent care to use the right service for their needs and seek advice from the 111 or the CCG website if they are unsure.

Dr Hayes said: “By choosing carefully, people can get the treatment they need sooner while also helping to relieve pressure on busy emergency services.”

Services such as the minor injuries unit in Yate, out-of-hours GPs and emergency pharmacists will all be available over the bank holiday weekend.

People who are not sure which service to use can get advice and guidance from NHS 111, their local NHS website and the NHS Service Finder app.

Checklist for the bank holiday weekend:

If you need medical help urgently but aren’t sure where to go, visit the South Gloucestershire CCG website or call NHS 111 at any time for advice and guidance.

Remember that many GPs and pharmacies will be closed from the end of the day on Thursday 13 April to the morning of Tuesday 18 April, so pick up repeat prescriptions well in advance.

If you need to see your GP for a routine appointment before the bank holiday, make sure you book it in good time.

Make sure you can treat very minor ailments at home by stocking up your home medicine cabinet with basics such as painkillers, antihistamines, oral rehydration salts and indigestion remedies.

You should also make sure you have a basic first aid kit to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises. Ask your pharmacist for advice and make sure that all medicines are kept out of the reach of children.

If you need advice caring for a poorly child, call 111. It’s free from mobiles as well as landlines and available 24/7. The free NHS HANDi App is also available to download and provides expert advice and guidance on common childhood illnesses.

Remember that emergency pharmacies will be available throughout the bank holiday weekend and can dispense emergency prescriptions and morning after contraception if required. 

Use A&E and 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies only, such as unconsciousness, severe chest pain or strokes. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 first.