The local NHS is reminding people that they can still access urgent health care over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend - including Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June when GP practices will be closed.
People who need to be seen by a health professional are being asked to contact NHS 111 in the first instance, unless it’s a life-threatening situation which requires calling 999 for an ambulance.
NHS 111 is staffed by a team of trained professionals who can help direct patients to the most appropriate service for advice or treatment over the weekend. This could include arranging a face-to-face appointment with an out-of-hours GP, or at a local hospital A&E department if needed.
Dr Janet Bliss, Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation that plans health services for the city, said:
“We know patients can feel unsure about what to do if they become unwell during a bank holiday weekend when their GP practice is closed, but NHS help is still available when you need it. Simply contact NHS 111 and they will help direct you the right care for your situation, ensuring you get seen as quickly as possible.”
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 usually 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 contacting NHS 111 first really is the quickest way for most patients to make sure they are seen in the right place and treated quickly.”
People can also seek treatment and advice for minor conditions at a local NHS Walk In Centre over the bank holiday – with or without a pre-booked appointment.
All of Liverpool’s Walk In Centres are open daily, from early until late (8am-8pm). You can find your nearest Walk In Centre here.
Rachel Williams, Medical Lead for Walk In Centres at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We have eight Walk-In Centres across Liverpool, Knowsley and South Sefton that are open seven days a week, 365 days a year. They are here for you when you need advice and treatment for a range of minor injuries and illnesses.
“If you need same day care please contact NHS 111, as they’ll know the best service for your need and can also book you in at your local Walk In Centre. Alternatively, you can simply turn up to any of our Walk In Centres without an appointment – but if it’s a serious injury or emergency situation, please dial 999 or go straight to A&E.”
Parents are also reminded that they can access help for under 16s at any local Walk In Centre, or use Alder Hey’s new symptom checker at: www.alderhey.nhs.uk for advice on treating common symptoms in children, and when to seek further help.
Matt Rotheram, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine from Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Our A&E department can become extremely busy during bank holidays, with a high volume of patients attending for care. We will always prioritise seeing the sickest patients first, which means that non-urgent patients can experience long waits and should consider other options before coming to our Emergency Department.
“We are asking everyone to use the NHS 111 service first – either by calling 111 or going to 111.nhs.uk, unless you think it is an emergency situation 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 clinicians at Alder Hey to help parents and carers understand their poorly child’s symptoms, and access advice on what to do for them.”
Patients who take medication on a regular basis to help manage a long-term condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, are also reminded to check they have enough supply left in advance of the extended bank holiday period, to avoid being caught short when GP practices will be closed.
Some local pharmacies will continue to be open as normal over the bank holiday weekend for advice and treatment (particularly supermarket branches), but many will be closed or operating with shorter opening times to normal.
Please check with your local pharmacy in advance, or contact NHS 111 to find your nearest open branch if you do need urgent access to medicines over the bank holiday.
To access NHS 111 for help or advice, go to 111.nhs.uk or dial 111 at any time.
BSL users can also use the NHS 111 video interpreter service by going to: www.interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111