NHS urges public to ensure they are prepared ahead of the Bank Holiday  

Residents and visitors to the South West are being urged to prepare ahead of this Bank Holiday weekend to minimise pressures on the NHS as it manages the next round of industrial action.

A few simple steps now will mean people will be less likely to need the help of the NHS this weekend, such as ensuring you have enough of your regularly prescribed medication, have checked which of your local pharmacies will be open over the weekend and having a well-stocked first aid kit to hand.

The NHS typically sees increased demand over Bank Holidays, particularly as people take the opportunity of the longer weekend to get outdoors or to do those household jobs we’ve been storing up over winter, leading to accidents and injuries.

But with nurses expected to go on strike from 8pm on Sunday, 30 April until 8pm on Tuesday, 2 May, the NHS in the South West is expecting challenges in delivering timely care to all those that need it.

NHS South West Regional Chief Nurse, Sue Doheny said: “We know that we see an increase in people who need our help over and immediately after a Bank Holiday weekend, which is why we are asking people to take a few simple steps now to minimise your need for NHS help this weekend.

“Having enough of your prescribed medicines, having a well-stocked first aid kit, and even knowing which local pharmacy will be open and when will help you manage day-to-day and minor health issues.

“And if you have done all those things and still need non-life-threatening help then 111 online ( can provide urgent health advice and direct you to the most appropriate NHS service for your condition.”

Every Bank Holiday the NHS 111 phone service sees many more people using the service where they’ve left it too late to order their repeat prescriptions. Calls to 111 relating to repeat prescriptions account for about 3% of all demand. This doubles during the bank holiday period and are all calls that could be avoided if people ensured they had prepared for the long weekend in advance.

Top tips to help the NHS this Bank Holiday:

If you ill or injured, and it is not life-threatening, but are unsure of which NHS service to use can help you with:

  • where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
  • how to find general health information and advice
  • getting help with an existing medical condition
  • how to get mental health help
  • where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • getting emergency dental appointments

You should still ring 999 if you experience:

  • signs of a heart attack like pain like a heavy weight in the centre of your chest
  • signs of stroke such as your face dropping on one side
  • difficulty breathing
  • heavy bleeding that won’t stop
  • seizures
  • or sudden and rapid swelling of the eyes, lips, throat or tongue.