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Featured Friday, Apr 5 2019

Healthcare and advice available over the Easter and upcoming bank holiday period

Inside Do You Know Where To Go

Residents of East Berkshire are being advised on how they can access healthcare and advice over the upcoming bank holiday period.

Sarah Bellars, Director of Nursing, NHS East Berkshire CCG said “We want people to know that should they unfortunately become unwell over the Easter and bank holiday period, help is at hand.

“If your GP practice is closed and it is not a 999 emergency, then you are advised to either call NHS 111 or use the new NHS 111 online service https://111.nhs.uk/. NHS 111 can give health advice, direct you to the most appropriate service and if needed, can book you an appointment to see a healthcare professional. The call is free of charge and the service is available 24 hours a day. This means no lengthy waits in hospital waiting rooms with other potentially unwell people.”

Rachel Wakefield, Associate Director, Urgent and Emergency Care and Specialist Services said: “NHS 111 online offers tailored and trusted NHS advice on what to do if feeling unwell. With more people searching the internet with their symptoms, the launch of an NHS online service is really positive. It offers increased patient choice, as we recognise that for many, NHS 111 online may be the quickest and most convenient way to access trusted medical advice.

“NHS 111 online uses the same clinical algorithms and process as the NHS 111 phone service, and as with the phone service, if needed you, will be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP. You can access NHS 111 online on a smartphone, tablet or computer - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

So, if you think you need urgent medical help, call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk. ‘Help Us Help You’ know what to do.

The #dontknowwheretogo campaign highlights what services are available to residents of East Berkshire more information can be found here.

Alternatively, you can visit one of the three Urgent Care facilities or a selected number of pharmacies for minor illnesses such as coughs and colds. To help ensure the NHS delivers an effective service for all over the Easter and bank holiday period, people should only visit A&E or call 999 for major, life-threatening illnesses and injuries.”

Most GP practices across Slough, Bracknell, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead will continue to operate a normal service until and including Thursday 18 April. We do however advise that you check with your individual practice.

Patients should ensure that they have sufficient medication to cover them over the holiday period and ensure that any request for repeat prescriptions are ideally made by Monday 15 April latest.

The ‘Extended hours Service’, which offers evening and weekend appointments for people who find it difficult to take time off work, or have other commitments during daytime hours, will also continue to operate as per usual until Thursday 18 April and some appointments will also be available on Friday 19 April, Saturday 20 April, Sunday 21 April and Monday 22 April. Please contact your GP surgery for details. The East Berkshire CCG are arranging for some additional GP capacity on the Thursday 18 April as well as Tuesday 23 April. People are reminded that these are pre-bookable appointments via their individual GP surgeries only and appointments cannot be booked on the day. If you would like to book an appointment, please speak to your GP practice reception staff today.

All GP practices will be closed on Friday 19 April and Monday 22 April. However, people will still be able to access GP care, whether this is for an urgent appointment or medical advice, by calling NHS 111 or online via www.111.nhs.uk

The three Urgent Care facilities will be open during all upcoming bank holiday periods, with walk-in services available for people at Bracknell Urgent Care Centre (BUCC), Slough Walk-In Centre (SWIC) and St Mark’s Urgent Care Centre (SMUCC) in Maidenhead. Here are their opening hours:

  • BUCC is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week (including Bank Holidays) – no change to opening times over Easter
  • SWIC is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week (including Bank Holidays) – no change to opening times over Easter
  • St Mark’s UCC is open 8:30am -5pm on weekdays / 8:30am – 1pm on weekends and Bank Holidays – no change to opening times over Easter

People may also seek medical advice from local pharmacies, some of which will be operating on restricted opening hours on 19 April (Good Friday), 21 April (Easter Sunday) and 22 April (Easter Monday). Click here for more information.

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you take care of yourself and family at home. Don’t forget to make sure you have all your routine medicines such as pain relief for adults and children so you are not caught out.

Pharmacy opening hours on Bank Holidays are subject to change. Patients are therefore advised to check if pharmacies are open by telephone before making a journey.

All services will resume as normal from 23 April with additional clinical capacity at the Extended GP hours Service again in place to help deal with any increased demand.