Be prepared for anything this Easter bank holiday

Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for the NHS, so local clinical leaders are asking everyone to look after themselves and make the right choice to keep well.

There is always extra pressure on emergency services over the bank holiday, with many people choosing to visit A&E when there are a number of other health services available.

The holiday weekend means that some NHS services, like GP practices and dentists, will close on Thursday evening (13 April) and won’t open again until Tuesday (18 April). People will struggle if they run out of medication, so it’s important to get organised and think ahead. 

Some key messages are:

  • get your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice before the Easter break
  • many pharmacies are open longer hours and offer expert advice on everyday ailments
  • if you are suffering from sickness and diarrhoea, avoid going to A&E, stay at home and keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids.

The local GP out-of-hours service will be open 24 hours a day throughout Easter - but they are there for urgent medical problems; not for patients who have forgotten to order their medication in time. 

Patients who call the out-of-hours service frequently do so for repeat prescriptions, for things like inhalers, insulin and blood pressure tablets, as they didn’t have enough to cover the bank holidays.

The Easter holiday period can be a very busy time for NHS services. Ordering and collecting a repeat prescription in good time not only ensures you keep well but could also help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Sorting out your repeat prescriptions in time is particularly important if you have a long-term health condition such as asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease and need to have your medicines at hand.

Dr Dave Tatham, clinical lead for urgent care at NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts CCGs, said: “There are tens of thousands of people with long-term health conditions in the district and we’d like them to stay healthy and enjoy their Easter break.

“We don’t want is for them to run out of their medication, become poorly and have to spend part of the bank holiday ill: neither do we want GPs’ time spent dealing with repeat prescriptions instead of people who are genuinely sick. It can be hard in the busy run-up to a break to find time to look after yourself, but it’s really important that you think about your health and get your repeat prescriptions in on time.

Remember, to help ease the pressures on the NHS, a well-stocked medicine cabinet should be the first line of defence for your health. With that, you can treat most minor illnesses, like sore throats, coughs and colds and upset stomachs, at home.

If you need advice about any minor ailments your local high-street pharmacist will be able to help. Remember they are highly trained professionals, are part of the local NHS team, and you don’t need to book an appointment.

Dr Tatham added: “Should you become ill and need medical help, then there is a range of services available to you. By knowing more about the health services available and what they offer, you can get yourself and your family the right treatment much faster. Avoiding unnecessary visits to A&E is important.”

There are always some pharmacies in the Bradford district and Craven open on bank holidays. To check which ones are open when click here.

Patients can also order their repeat prescriptions online through the SystmOnline website or app using a mobile phone, tablet device or computer.

The easy to use online service is available 24/7 and also allows you to book appointments and update your details. If you care for someone that you request prescriptions for, you can also be granted access on their behalf. A link to SystmOnline can be found on your GP’s website – as your GP practice to set you up with a logon.

Help and information on using online services is available here.