Bank holidays are busy times of year for NHS services, so it is important to remember the small steps you can take to make sure that illness doesn’t ruin your holiday, and if you are ill to use the right services.

If you take regular medicines it is really important to make sure you have enough to see you through the bank holiday when GP surgeries are closed. Remember, your local pharmacy can also give advice on a wide range of conditions and can help.

Pharmacists are qualified experts in the use of medicines and can give advice on common symptoms, medicines and healthy living. Many pharmacies are open over the bank holiday and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting the NHS Choices website.

Click here to view the pharmacy opening information for Bank Holiday Monday (29 May).

The pharmacy is also the perfect place to stock up your medicine cabinet. Useful items to have handy include:

  • pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)
  • paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
  • cough and cold remedies
  • sore throat remedies
  • anti-diarrhoea treatments
  • antihistamines
  • indigestion remedies
  • simple dressings and plasters.

When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, you can ring NHS 111 for advice and direction to the most appropriate service. NHS 111 is available 24-hours-a-day; 365-days-a-year and calls are free.

You should only use A&E or dial 999 only in critical or life-threatening situations. For example:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state
  • fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds.

In the case of suspected heart attack or stroke call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Clinical Leader, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said:

“By considering the alternative options first and leaving 999 and A&E only for the most serious illness and emergencies, people can often get care closer to their homes and avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital. We would encourage patients to phone 111 for advice on where best to seek help, for example, the local pharmacy or out of hours GP service. This will leave A&E to look after serious cases and save lives.”