With the long bank holiday weekend fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.
If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.
Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:
- paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
- medicine to combat diarrhoea;
- rehydration mixture;
- a thermometer.
However, if you are worried or not getting better here are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.
Call NHS 111
When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where there are friendly, highly-trained staff available to talk to you direct about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.
Health information is also available around the clock at:
Speak to your local pharmacist
Check your local pharmacy’s opening times, particularly over the Easter period.
Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.
Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.
Talk before you Walk – where to go for help
Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.
There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.
Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
Tel: 01344 55 11 00
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year.
The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.
Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.
Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Tel: 01753 635505
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year
The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.
No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.
St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Tel: 03000 242000
Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.
The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.
Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.
For further information visit NHS Choices.