17th June 2021

NHS in Somerset asks people to be prepared and choose the right NHS service this Easter bank holiday

Local health leaders are asking people to prepare for the upcoming Easter bank holiday weekend by organising their prescriptions, keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet and calling 111 first for urgent, but not life-threatening, health advice and treatment. They will make sure you get the help from the most appropriate service for your healthcare needs.

GP surgeries will be closed as normal over the bank holiday weekend and will reopen on Tuesday 6 April.

Helen Thomas, Associate Clinical Director for Urgent and Emergency Care with Somerset Clinical Commissioning group, said: 

“While your local GP is closed, there are still lots of healthcare options available for you, including local pharmacies and contacting NHS 111 for advice and support to get you to the service that best meets your needs including Minor Injury Units and emergency services.

“If you need medical advice or treatment and you’re not sure what to do visit 111.nhs.uk first, or call NHS 111. If needed, they can arrange for you to be seen safely at your local A&E, emergency dental service, pharmacy or another more appropriate local service. They can also send an ambulance if your condition is serious or life-threatening.”   

You can also find health advice and information on the NHS website or from your local GP practice website which links to a range of online services and, in most cases, you can order repeat prescriptions online. For children’s health advice you can download the HANDi App, available for Android phones on Google Play or on the App store for iPhone and iPad.

For injuries which are not life-threatening, you can get help in any of Somerset’s Minor Injury Units, in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital (near Glastonbury) which are also open and will continue to operate as a walk-in service.

Minor Injury Units can help with a wide range of conditions including broken bones, throat and chest infections, eye infections, urinary infections, emergency contraception, sprains and strains, as well as wounds and bites.

If you have a medical emergency, you should call 999 as normal, or go to your nearest A&E. You should go to an A&E if you or someone else has a life threatening emergency, such as: 

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma such as a road traffic accident

If in doubt, call NHS 111 for advice in the first instance. They will be able to assess what level of care you need, including emergency care.

Many community pharmacies will be open to support people across Somerset. Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you and your family with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. 

You can help by being prepared for common health problems by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home and making sure that you have enough prescription medication to last over the bank holiday weekend. 

If you need to visit a healthcare setting over the Easter break, it is safe to do so. Extra precautions have been taken to keep you safe.

Please remember to follow the latest government advice around social distancing over the bank holiday and to wear a mask if you need to visit your local pharmacy.

Further information

Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy

For full pharmacy rotas over the Easter bank holiday in the southwest, see: https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours/

See Minor Injury Unit opening times: https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/minor-injury-units/