With Easter, fast approaching, local health professionals are reminding people to examine their options, should they or their family members become unwell over the long weekend.
Many GP practices will be closed on the bank holidays over Easter, so it is also wise for people to think about repeat prescriptions they will need before the holiday period begins.
Dr John Caine, a GP in Parbold and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are reminding people about the services on offer to them such as advice on the NHS choices website and by calling NHS 111 which will be invaluable over Easter.
“Your pharmacist can also give you useful advice on how to deal with common bugs, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu so that you can take precautions and have a great Easter.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, a Southport GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “We remind people to examine their options all year around but it is even more important over the bank holidays when GP practices are closed.
“We want to make sure that people have a good Easter break and that they use the right service should they need it. We don’t want patients to become poorly and have to spend part of their holiday in hospital. Another thing we don’t want to happen is for people to run out of their medication but it is also important that they don’t over order to avoid unnecessary waste.
The local NHS CCGs in West Lancashire, Southport and Formby are reminding people that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.
Feeling Unwell? – Examine Your Options
Across the area there are a range of health services to support people if they feel unwell or have any health concerns. There are services which you may be unfamiliar with, but could be more appropriate and convenient for you depending on your specific issue.
For minor ailments and injuries your best route to recover is likely to be self-care. There are a variety of services that can support you to do this:
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can help you prepare for many of the common illnesses like coughs and colds and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet over the holiday period.
Several pharmacies will be open over the Easter bank holiday period and to keep up to date with where your nearest available pharmacy is, visit your local CCG’s website. For on the day information, visit your local CCG’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your local area by visiting the NHS.uk website, www.nhs.uk, which also includes a handy symptom checker.
When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.
Your Local GP
Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses you can’t treat yourself. A GP will be available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays (local GP practice times in West Lancashire may vary).
If you don’t have a GP, you can register with your local surgery. If you’re not sure where this is, you can find out at: www.nhs.uk or call 0300 77 77 007.
In West Lancashire, residents can now see a GP on Thursday and Friday evenings from 6.30pm – 8pm at the Ormskirk walk-in-centre; on Saturdays from 10am – 4pm and Sundays from 10am to 2pm at the Sandy Lane Health Centre in Skelmersdale.
To make an appointment to see an extended hours GP, residents simply need to do this through their normal GP surgery.
West Lancashire has two walk-in centres: The West Lancashire Health Centre in Ormskirk, which is based at Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ. This centre is open from 8am to 7.30pm, seven days a week and the Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre at The Concourse, Skelmersdale, L39 2AZ, which is open from 8am to 7.30pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, starting on Good Friday (17 April, 2017) and finishing on Easter Monday (20 April, 2017), the following opening hours apply:
The West Lancashire Health Centre – Good Friday to Easter Monday – 8am to 7.30pm – Please note last booking in for patients is 7.30pm.
Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre – Good Friday to Easter Monday – 9am to 5.00pm – Please note last booking in for patients is 4.00pm.
The staff within these centres can treat a wide range of illnesses and conditions, like minor infections, rashes, stomach upsets, small cuts and bruises, strains and sprains, coughs, colds and flu-like symptoms and more.
To access help from the walk-in centre, simply walk in and speak to the receptionist. Once you are booked in, you’ll be seen by a clinician who’ll decide how urgent your case is and you will be then be seen in priority order.
GP Out of Hours Service
If your local surgery is closed, you can still see a GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary.
It is very likely that you and your family will be seen and treated more quickly using the out-of-hours service than if you were waiting to see a doctor in A&E, especially at busy times.
Manage your repeat prescriptions and make GP appointments from the comfort of your own home, without having to venture outside, by using the new FREE Patient Access website and smartphone app. Simply search for ‘Patient Access’ in the app store.
Remember though, if using Patient Access for the very first time, you will first have to contact your GP practice so that you can register to use the app.
For up to the minute information on where to go if you fall ill visit the Examine Your Options website: www.examineyouroptions.info.
For West Lancashire pharmacy opening times over the bank holiday, please visit our dedicated pharmacy bank holiday opening page here.