The local NHS is reminding people that they can still access urgent care over the Easter bank holiday weekend, especially on Friday 15 April (Good Friday) and Monday 18 April (Easter Monday) when GP practices will be closed.
People who need to be seen by a health professional face to face are being asked to contact NHS 111, who will help direct them to the most appropriate service for advice or treatment.
NHS 111 is staffed by a team of trained professionals and clinicians who provide instant over the phone triage, and can arrange a face-to-face appointment with an out-of-hours GP, or at a local hospital A&E department if needed.
Alternatively, people can also attend a local NHS Walk-in Centre without an appointment. All of Liverpool’s Walk-in Centres are open from early until late (8am-8pm), seven days a week, including bank holidays. You can find your nearest Walk-in centre here.
Parents are also reminded that they can access help for children who are unwell at any Walk-in Centre, or use Alder Hey’s new symptom checker at: www.alderhey.nhs.uk. It offers advice on common symptoms in children, and when to seek further help from their A&E department.
Dr Janet Bliss, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation that plans health services for the city, said:
“We know that sometimes patients are unsure about what to do if they become unwell during a bank holiday weekend when their GP practice is closed, but we want to let people know that NHS help is still available when you need it.
“The best thing you can do is to contact NHS 111 if you need any kind of medical advice or treatment over the weekend. The service can offer advice on you or your child’s symptoms, and can also book you an urgent, face-to-face appointment if you need one.”
“We would strongly urge people not to turn up at one of our local hospital A&E departments without an appointment, unless it really is a life-threatening emergency, as they get extremely busy over bank holidays. Instead, call NHS 111 so that you can be directed to the right care and get seen as quickly as possible.”
Anne Kerr, Consultant in Emergency Medicine from Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Our A&E department is under significant pressure at the moment with a high volume of patients. We will always prioritise seeing the sickest patients first and will ensure everyone receives the care they need. However, non-urgent patients could experience long waits so please consider other options before coming to our Emergency Department.
“We are asking everyone to use the NHS 111 service – either by calling 111 or going to www.nhs.uk/111 – and they will be able to direct you to the right service in order to get you treated as quickly as possible.
“You can also use our new online symptom checker, which has been developed by Alder Hey to help parents and carers understand their poorly child’s symptoms and access advice on what to do for them.”
Professor John Brennan, Interim Medical Director from Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“When patients contact NHS 111 first, it helps us to make sure they are treated in the right place and are seen as quickly as possible. This is especially important during busy periods, such as bank holiday weekends, when our hospital Emergency Departments can become very busy.
“Walking into our Emergency Departments is not the quickest way to get help. Unless a patient has a serious medical emergency, those with a pre-booked appointment from NHS 111 will be given priority, so this really is the quickest way for most patients to be seen and to make sure they are being seen in the right place.”
People are also reminded that they can get advice and treatment for lots of minor illnesses and ailments by visiting a local pharmacy – without the need for an appointment.
Many local pharmacies are still open over the Easter bank holidays, but some will be closed, and others will be operating with different opening times to normal – so please contact NHS 111 for further advice on your nearest open branch.
To access NHS 111, go to 111.nhs.uk or dial 111 at any time – it operates 24 hours a day, every day.
BSL users can use the NHS 111 video interpreter service by going to www.interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111.