Publish date: 3 April 2023
NHS Greater Manchester (GM) is urging everyone to help themselves to have a great Easter bank holiday weekend, by being prepared with medication and to know how to access urgent care if needed.
Ahead of a very busy period which will also see a bank holiday weekend from 7–10 April followed by a four-day junior doctor industrial strike from 11–15 April, NHS GM is providing a reminder of ways to look after yourself during a time where there will be significant pressure on the NHS – as part of its Get To Know Where To Go campaign.
The public is also reminded that they can get advice and treatment for lots of minor illnesses and ailments from a local pharmacy, without the need for an appointment. Many local pharmacies will still be open over the bank holiday, but some will operate with reduced hours – people can find pharmacy Easter bank holiday opening times.
Meanwhile, dental support can be accessed via the Greater Manchester dental helpline (0333 332 3800), which is available from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays for those who need help urgently when their practice is closed, or do not have a regular dentist.
Dr Manisha Kumar, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Greater Manchester, said: “We want to help people to have fun and make the most of their Easter, while also being aware of the pressures that their local NHS will be facing over the weekend and the following week.
“Running out of your usual medication can have serious consequences, especially if you use them to control heart and breathing problems or a health condition such as diabetes. By stocking up on prescribed medication and being prepared for common illnesses with over-the-counter medicines which your pharmacist can help with – it means you can carry on enjoying the long weekend and not worry about it when there are likely to be disruptions during the industrial action.”
Those who need to be seen by a health professional face to face are being asked to go to 111.nhs.uk or call 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.
This system is in place to help ensure patients get the care they need as quickly and easily as possible. However, the public should still dial 999 as normal in a medical emergency, when someone is seriously injured, or their life is at risk.
Dr Manisha Kumar said: “We want to assure the public that if the unexpected does happen and someone becomes unwell, they can still get urgent help even if their normal GP or dental practice is closed.
“The advice is really simple for non-emergencies – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you need any kind of urgent medical treatment over the weekend. They can offer lots of helpful advice, and book you an urgent, face-to-face appointment if you need urgent treatment or care too.
“In the event of a life or limb threatening emergency people should call 999 or attend accident and emergency services.”
Other ways to contact NHS 111 include calling 18001 111 using text relay, 24 hours a day. British sign language (BSL) users can use the NHS 111 video interpreter service by going to www.signvideo.co.uk/nhs111. For help in other languages, please call 111 and ask for an interpreter.