Dr Adrian Clements 8.jpgAs we approach Easter weekend, the NHS in north Cumbria has issued some advice as to how you can prepare to treat minor ailments but also where to get advice for anything worse.

The weekend includes bank holidays on both Good Friday (7th April) and Easter Monday (10th April).

Dr Adrian Clements, Executive Medical Director at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Bank holidays are always a busy time for the NHS and the last thing we need right now is more pressure on our services.

“If people are unwell then of course we are here to help, but we are also asking everyone to make sure they are well prepared for the holidays by remembering to order any prescription medicine well in advance, having a well-stocked medicine cabinet to treat any unexpected minor health concerns at home and by thinking carefully about the right NHS service for them if they do require medical help.

“One of the best things people can do is keep some basic medicines at home such as paracetamol, plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoea medicine - you can ask your local pharmacist for advice on any other medicines you might need.

"It’s also important to have enough repeat medicine to last over the holidays -remember your GP surgery will be closed on Good Friday, April 7, and Easter Monday, April 10, and it can take up to 48 hours for most GP surgeries to process a repeat prescription."

Dr Clements also urged people to enjoy their bank holiday safely, to avoid any additional pressures on urgent care and A&E departments. 

"Whether you’re working in the garden, tackling some DIY or taking part in outdoor activities please, please, remember to do it safely – and this also includes taking care when drinking alcohol.

"Unfortunately, over bank holidays we often see many people turn up at A&E and emergency services with illness, injury, accidents and violence related incidents due to drinking too much. While we understand people want to enjoy themselves, we know they don’t want to spend their valuable holiday time in A&E or hospital because they’ve over done it!”

If you feel you need to speak to someone about your symptoms then you can talk to your local pharmacist, they are qualified health professionals who can help you understand the support you need. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and a good source for medical advice – they have a private room for consultations and patients do not require appointments.

Pharmacy opening times are available on North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust’s website.

Salli Pilcher, Associate Director of nursing at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A well-stocked medicine cabinet is always helpful – paracetamol can help with headaches and cold symptoms and ibruprofen is an anti-inflammatory for minor bumps and grazes. These plus things like antiseptic creams and medicine for tummy ache, diarrhoea and constipation are all available over the counter in many pharmacies. If you catch your arm on the barbeque or trip over a child’s toy and bump your leg having these in your cabinet means you can administer self-care.”

To help keep pressure off Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments patients are also encouraged to ‘Choose Wisely’ and select the right service for what they need. A&E departments are for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions only. Common ailments such as coughs and colds are best dealt with at home with rest and a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

Qualified and experienced health professionals are on the end of the phone 24 hours a day by calling 111. Out of hours 111 are able to book you an appointment with a doctor or a specialist if that is appropriate.

If someone is suffering from a life threatening condition such as a heart attack, stroke or a severe trauma then you should call 999 as that is an emergency and getting help quickly is the most important thing you can do to help that person.