With the first of May bank holiday 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 holiday, so it is also wise for people to think about repeat prescriptions they will need before the long weekend begins but not over order.
Dr Rob Caudwell, a Southport GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “We remind people to examine their options all year round but it is even more important over the bank holiday weekends when GP practices are closed.
“We want to make sure that people have a good weekend 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.
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 this weekend.
“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 nice long weekend.”
The local NHS CCGs in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire are reminding people that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.
Feeling Unwell? – Examine Your Options
Across the region 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.
Many pharmacies will be open throughout the bank holiday weekend and the best way to find out which pharmacy is open and when is to visit your CCG’s website.
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can also help you to self-care and prepare for many common illnesses and offer advice on which medicines to keep in stock at home.
In Sefton – whilst all pharmacies provide advice and treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments, a number in Sefton offer Care at the Chemist, which ensures our most vulnerable patients who don’t routinely pay for their prescriptions have free and easy access to over the counter medicines they may need without the need to see a doctor.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies in your local area by visiting www.nhs.uk. This useful website 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
In West Lancashire, extended access clinics are operating on the following dates:
Bank holiday Monday 7 May – 10am – 2pm at Ormskirk Medical Practice
Tuesday 28 May – Sandy Lane, Skelmersdale 10am – 2pm
In West Lancashire, residents can see a GP in the evenings and weekends at certain times.
Tuesdays – Skelmersdale Family Practice, 6.30pm to 8pm
Wednesdays – Matthew Ryder Clinic (Upholland) and Tarleton Group Practice – 6.30pm to 8pm
Thursdays – The West Lancashire Walk-in Centre in Ormskirk from 6.30pm to 8pm.
Saturdays – Sandy Lane Health Centre (Skelmersdale), Burscough Health Centre and Ormskirk Medical Centre from 10am – 4pm – GP, nurse and blood clinics at Sandy Lane and Burscough, GP and nurse only at Ormskirk.
Sundays – Sandy Lane Health Centre, Burscough Health Centre and Ormskirk Medical Practice, 10am – 2pm – GP and nurse appointments only.
To make an appointment to see an extended hours GP, contact your GP practice.
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.
For more information please visit www.examineyouroptions.info
West Lancashire has two walk-in centres.
The West Lancashire Health Centre – 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre –8am to 8pm, 7 days a week
Colleagues within these centres, can treat minor injuries and minor ailments and all services are delivered by Virgin Care.
Sefton – Litherland Walk in Centre is open 8am – 8pm every day. No matter where you live in Sefton you can simply drop in – there is no need for an appointment and all ages can get treatment here. The service treats minor illnesses and injuries that do not need a visit to accident and emergency (A&E). Remember A&E is for serious and life threatening illnesses or injuries.
Litherland walk in centre is based in Litherland Town Hall, Hatton Hill Rd, L21 9JN. Call 0151 475 4667.
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 information about services that can help in Southport and Formby over the bank holiday please visit: http://www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/
For West Lancashire pharmacy opening times over the bank holiday, please visit https://www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/resources/patient-and-public-information/west-lancashire-pharmacy-bank-holiday-opening-times/