People are also being urged to make sure they know how to access urgent care – in case they or a loved need help over the bank holiday weekends, and to support the safe and timely discharge of loved ones who are ready to leave hospital.

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Deputy Medical Director, Dr Fiona Lemmens is urging people to use NHS 111 for all non-emergency healthcare needs.

“We want to remind people that our hospitals can often become very busy over a long bank holiday weekend when other health services are closed, and in the month of May we have two in quite close succession.

“To help us ensure that our busy ambulance services and hospital A&E departments are kept free for those who need them most – we are reminding people to make NHS 111 their first point of call for all non-emergency healthcare treatment and advice.”

“The NHS 111 service offers advice and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 111 or online at: You should still call 999 or go straight to A&E in an emergency situation when someone is seriously ill or injured, and you think their life may be at risk.

“But if you need any other medical help and you're not sure where to go, please use NHS 111 and they will direct you to the right place for you. They can also arrange for a nurse, doctor, or paramedic to ring you back, and they can book you an appointment at a local pharmacy, urgent treatment centre, or hospital A&E department if needed.” 

For advice and treatment for minor health concerns, people can also use the ‘Pharmacy First’ service which allows pharmacists to assess and treat patients for common conditions - without the need for a GP appointment or prescription first.

Simply drop in to your local pharmacy and ask for advice – but do remember to call ahead to check their bank holiday opening hours. Search for your nearest pharmacy and opening times at: