Health leaders in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are warning of another busy period for the NHS as the coming month sees fresh industrial action and more bank holiday weekends.
Local people are once again being asked to show their support to the health service by preparing well and choosing the right healthcare option when seeking help.
This latest call to action, which follows similar appeals made prior to Easter and the recent strike by junior doctors, comes as May begins with a bank holiday that is followed immediately by 48 hours of planned industrial action by nurses.
Health and care teams will then rally together just a few days later to keep urgent and emergency services running over the additional bank holiday to mark the King’s coronation.
As before, residents are being asked to get prescriptions in early, stock up on medicine cabinet essentials and utilise remote health services, such as NHS 111 online and the NHS website.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Although the NHS is renowned for its resilience and fortitude, never before have staff had to contend with so many challenging periods in quick succession.
“Our frontline workers pulled out all the stops over the recent Easter break and, as we ask them to do the same again during May, we need our local communities to also support us.
“In isolation, the simple steps we’re asking people to do may seem small, but when these actions are repeated across the whole region, it has the potential to make a huge difference to those caring for the most sick and injured.”
Most pharmacies will be closed on Monday 1 and Monday 8 May, meaning people who usually collect repeat prescriptions at the beginning of the week are reminded to get requests in early to avoid running short.
As well as dispensing medicines, pharmacies can also provide people with advice on over-the-counter products, share health and wellbeing advice and offer private consultations without the need for an appointment.
People are asked to make the most of their nearest pharmacy during periods of industrial action, and to seek help from NHS 111 online, which can offer person- specific advice and information in real time.
Choosing these services will allow staff working in the region’s urgent and emergency care settings, such as hospitals and minor injury units, to focus their attention on those most in need.
Other methods of obtaining quick healthcare include accessing the NHS website, downloading the HandiApp, which provides advice on caring for young children, and calling NHS 111 from any mobile or landline.
Further details on all local health and care services can be found online at http://www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.