Don’t get caught out

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire who take regular medication are being advised to get their repeat prescription requests in, as well as collected, ahead of the upcoming bank holiday weekend.

Most pharmacies across the region will be closed on Monday 2 May for the Early May Bank Holiday, meaning any person whose medicine runs out over the long weekend could have to wait longer than normal for their supply to be replenished.

To avoid this and, more importantly, to ensure health is not put at any unnecessary risk, people are being asked to submit any repeat prescriptions that are due for renewal in advance of the bank holiday.

Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair and GP Partner at Box Surgery in Wiltshire, said: “Those who depend on daily medication could find themselves becoming very poorly if their supply runs out over the long weekend.

“Although a few pharmacies in the region will be open on bank holiday Monday, some may be unable to travel, which is why it’s really important to get any outstanding prescription requests in as early as possible.

“Additionally, some older people, as well as those who are vulnerable, may be unaware of the bank holiday, so anyone who is able to do so should check in on nearby friends and relatives to see if they have all they need.”

During the recent Easter weekend, when many pharmacies were closed, the NHS 111 telephone service received a high volume of calls from people whose medicine had run out.

At a time when all health and care services, particularly those that operate outside of normal hours, are incredibly busy, such calls, many of which could have been avoided by planning ahead, can add extra pressure on already-stretched frontline teams.

People in need of emergency medicine on Monday 2 May, as well as those seeking advice for a minor illness or injury, will still be able to receive help from one of the select local pharmacies that will remain open.

Details of which pharmacies will be open and when, as those which do stay open may have reduced opening hours, will soon be available online at http://www.bswccg.nhs.uk.

Although local hospitals and minor injuries units will be open as usual on bank holiday Monday, people are asked to only attend these sites for genuine health concerns that cannot be managed at home or through advice taken from http://www.nhs.uk.

The NHS 111 service, which is available online at http://www.111.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 111, can also provide help to people who are unsure of which healthcare service is most appropriate for their specific condition.

Visit http://www.bswccg.nhs.uk for more information on all local health and care services.