Be prepared for the three bank holidays in May

People across Suffolk and north east Essex are urged to be prepared and know what to do if they feel unwell over the May bank holidays.

GP practices and many community pharmacies will be closed on Monday May 1, 8 and 29.

There may also be added pressure of industrial action by Royal College of Nursing members currently scheduled for Saturday April 30 at 8.00 p.m. to Tuesday May 2 at 8.00 p.m.

Dr Andrew Kelso, Medical Director, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “With three bank holidays this month it’s certainly going to be a challenging time for the NHS, on top of the planned industrial action, so I ask people to do all they can to help and support their NHS.

“Please plan ahead by ensuring you’ll have enough repeat prescription medicine to last you over the holiday weekends, bearing in mind you need to allow time for your GP practice to process your repeat prescription request and for the pharmacy to dispense it.

“You can make sure you are best prepared to deal with minor illness and injury by keeping the medicine cabinet basics, like paracetamol and sticking plasters, at home. Talk to your pharmacist about the items you are best to keep at home.

“And, if you do need medical care that’s not life-threatening or urgent dental advice make NHS 111 Online or NHS 111 the first port of call 24/7. Some pharmacies will be open on the bank holidays too and you don’t need an appointment to speak with the pharmacist.

“Mental health crisis support remains available by calling NHS 111 and choosing the mental health option.

“Throughout the holidays and the proposed period of industrial action, our hospitals’ emergency departments will remain open, and anyone with a life-threatening condition should not hesitate in coming forward. It’s so important though that people keep our emergency services for the most serious cases and use the most appropriate NHS service such as NHS 111 or their pharmacy in all other instances to get the help they need.”

Visit the NHS Find a Pharmacy website