Saddle up and be prepared for Le Tour patients urged

The Yorkshire Grand Depart which kicks off the Tour de France is just weeks away and doctors are urging patients to be prepared.

Up to 3 million visitors are expected to come to the region to see the world’s most famous cycle race get underway so it pays to saddle up and beat the rush, say GPs.

The weekend of 5 and 6 July will be busy and it will be difficult to get prescriptions because of road closures in and around Bradford and Airedale so planning ahead is essential to stay healthy – especially for patients with long- term conditions.

The advice has been issued by NHS Bradford City, NHS Bradford Districts and NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs.)

Making sure patients have enough medicines to see them through Le Tour weekend can not only make a difference to patients’ health but it could also ensure doctors are not called out unnecessarily or that people are not heading to A&E when they don’t need to.

Dr Adeel Iqbal, GP lead for long-term conditions, NHS Bradford City CCG said: “We’re asking people to be prepared over this busy and exciting weekend. This is especially important for patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma and arthritis who need to plan ahead and think carefully about how much medication they have left and whether this is enough to see them through this period.

“They can then relax and enjoy the race without worrying about becoming ill. Being prepared can even avert a medical emergency.”

Doctors are also reminding patients of the benefits of using their local pharmacies. 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 Le Tour period and patients can locate their nearest pharmacy by visiting the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk

The pharmacy is also the perfect place to stock up medicine cabinets and useful items to consider include:

• pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
• cough and cold remedies
• sore throat remedies
• anti-diarrhoea treatments
• antihistamines
• indigestion remedies
• simple dressings and plasters

Dr Colin Renwick, clinical chair at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG said: “A well-stocked medicine cupboard is essential, especially over busy periods such as this when it may be difficult to get out and about.

“Having home remedies to hand means peace of mind. People should pop into their local pharmacies and ask for advice about essential items.”

People who may start to feel unwell over Le Tour weekend can also check their symptoms using the NHS Symptoms Checker page, which can advise them what kind of treatment they may need. In some cases “self-care” at home could be the answer.

When medical help is needed but it is not an emergency, people 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.

People are urged only to go to their local A&E department or dial 999 in critical or life-threatening situations. For example:
• loss of consciousness 
• acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
• persistent, severe chest pain
• breathing difficulties
• severe bleeding that can't be stopped
In the case of heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.
For more information about staying healthy during Le Tour weekend and all other times, please visit the dedicated website www.nhsstaywell.org Details of road closures can also be found here.