With the four-day weekend fast approaching, one of the capital’s top doctors, Dr Vin Diwakar, is reminding Londoners that there are a number of ways to get medical care if they become unwell this Easter.
As the first Bank Holiday of the year, Accident and Emergency departments and ambulance services are expected to be busier than normal. Patients are encouraged to make use of all the other ways to access healthcare when it’s not an emergency.
Seeing a pharmacist
Pharmacists are trained medical professionals who can give fast advice and treatment for a range of minor health issues including coughs and colds, sore throats, stomach upsets and emergency contraception.
Appointments aren’t necessary – patients can walk in to a local pharmacy and ask for advice, either over the counter or in a consultation room.
Patients should also remember to collect repeat prescriptions before the weekend. Pharmacy opening times may vary over the Bank Holiday, so a full list of what’s open in each London borough is available.
Booking evening and weekend GP appointments
More appointments are available during evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays with GPs and their teams.
To book an appointment over the Bank Holiday, patients can call their own GP practice and follow instructions on the recorded message, or dial 111. Trained call advisers will be able to book appointments at local GP services, or direct patients to the best care for them.
Dialling 111 for urgent care
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, dial 111 for urgent medical help or advice – when it’s not an emergency. The free service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
NHS 111 can connect you with dental care services, if you need them.
In an emergency, patients should dial 999 or go to A&E.
Medical Director for the NHS in London, Dr Vin Diwakar, said:
“As Londoners make plans for the long weekend, the NHS is also planning for what is expected to be a busy Bank Holiday for our A&Es and emergency services.
“If you or a family member are unwell, there are a number of ways to get help. You can visit one of the many open pharmacies for fast and effective advice for minor illnesses, dial 111 for urgent care, or book a GP appointment at a local clinic.
“It’s really important that everyone gets the help they need, and that 999 and A&E care is reserved for those who need it most.”