Bypass the waiting room.

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire in need of timely healthcare this Easter weekend are being urged to use the NHS 111 service.

Available over the phone or online, NHS 111 is an easy-to-use resource that asks symptom-specific questions that can provide a person with details of how best to care for their illness or injury at home, or direct them to the most appropriate health and care service.

In some cases, the service can even offer people a timed arrival slot at a hospital emergency department, minor injuries unit or urgent treatment centre, which reduces the need to spend long periods of time waiting to be seen.

Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, said: “At a time when we all have a heightened awareness of our own health and wellbeing, as well as that of our closest relatives, NHS 111 is the service we should all keep at the front of our minds when thinking about seeking help.

“I know that some people who fall ill or have an accident over Easter will wait until after the bank holiday weekend to seek help, but this is incredibly risky, and can lead to a simple-to-treat condition developing into something more serious.

“So, whether dialling 111 and speaking to a trained advisor, or visiting 111.nhs.uk and answering the symptom-specific questions, the NHS 111 service can help all who use it to get effective advice, care or treatment in a timely manner, even during bank holidays.”

Timed arrival slots are available through NHS 111 to those whose conditions are serious enough to require medical intervention.

Those with less serious health conditions may be offered self-care advice, details of how to treat an injury at home, an out-of-hours GP appointment or told to visit one of a number of pharmacies in the region that is open over the Easter weekend.

Pharmacies provide more than just repeat prescriptions, with many having private consultation rooms in which trained staff can offer assessments, diagnostics and possible treatments.

Details of which pharmacies in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are open and when can be found online at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.

Information about NHS 111 can also be found online at http://www.nhs.uk.