Patients in the East of England will have access to GP practices and pharmacies during the early May bank holiday.
NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England has confirmed that Friday 8 May 2020 is a normal working day for many GP practices and as result, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across the region are working with their practices to ensure there is sufficient cover and access for their patients.
All patients are being asked to call their usual GP surgery for advice on how to arrange an appointment or a repeat prescription. Patients will be offered a telephone or video consultation and may be asked to travel to a GP practice that is not their own if they require a face to face appointment.
Most community pharmacies will be open from at least 2pm-5pm on Friday 8 May – although some may offer longer opening hours or open for an alternate three hour period in the morning or later in the day. In some cases, local arrangements between neighbouring pharmacies may have been permitted where they will result in better access for patients throughout the whole day.
Please check the NHS website, or your pharmacy’s own website for details of opening times. Alternatively, a map showing pharmacies who notified NHS England and NHS Improvement of their intentions to open or close on 8 May 2020 is available on the NHS England and NHS Improvement – East of England website. This data was correct at the time of publishing.
Pharmacists have five years of training and are qualified to assess symptoms and manage minor illnesses and ailments. They can give clinical and practical medical advice or over-the-counter medicines to help safely manage minor health issues such as: sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles, teething problems and aches and pains.
Seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home, in line with government guidance. While NHS staff have pulled out all the stops to deal with coronavirus, they have also worked hard to ensure that patients who don’t have Covid-19 can safely access essential services.
To help remind people that health services are still there for them, the NHS has recently launched a campaign called ‘Help Us Help You’, sharing the best way for people in the East of England to get the help they need for a range of symptoms.
People who need urgent medical help on the early May Bank Holiday should use the NHS 111 online service. If they cannot get help online, they should call 111. Those with the following symptoms should visit A&E:
• 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
• major trauma such as a road traffic accident
People should call 999 immediately if they or someone else is having a heart attack or a stroke. Every second counts with these conditions.
NHS 111 also has an online coronavirus service that can tell people if they need medical help. Advice on what to do is available at www.111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/. It’s important not to visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have Covid-19 symptoms.
People should only call 111 if they are unable to get help online. More information on coronavirus, including how to avoid catching and spreading it, can be found on www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.