Be prepared if you get sick this Easter

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 Rob Caudwell, Southport GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “There will be lots of options should you need medical assistance over the Easter bank holiday weekend, so it is important to think about what type of help you need and check what times those services are available.

“In addition to the GP out of hours services, lots of pharmacists will be open over the weekend and you can check the opening hours on our website. Pharmacists are highly qualified health care professionals who can offer free, confidential advice on a range of everyday illnesses, so it is always a good idea to think pharmacy first. If you have a healthcare need that can’t wait you can also get advice by calling 111 and their fully trained advisers will be able to point you to the right service.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, acting chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “Making sure you examine your options before seeking medical advice or treatment means that you can get the help you need, when you need it.”

Dr John Caine, a GP in West Lancashire and chair at NHS West Lancashire 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 through self-care, so that you can take precautions and have a great Easter.”

For information on where to go if you fall ill during the bank holiday visit the 'your health and services' pages.

You'll find a list of Easter holiday opening times in that section, along with a handy guide you can print off. 

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.

Pharmacy Services

Several pharmacies will be open throughout the Easter bank holiday weekend and the best way to find out which pharmacy is open and when is to check our list.

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.

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.

NHS.UK

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.

NHS 111

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 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 311 22 33.

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.

Walk-in centres

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.

West Lancashire Walk-in Centre in Ormskirk, which is based at Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ. This centre is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week and the Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre at The Concourse, Skelmersdale, WN8 6LJ, which is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, starting on Good Friday (30 March 2018) and finishing on Easter Monday (2 April 2018), the following opening hours apply:

The West Lancashire Health Centre – Good Friday to Easter Monday – 8am to 8pm 

Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre – Good Friday to Easter Monday – 8am to 8pm

Colleagues within these centres, can treat minor injuries and minor ailments and all services are delivered by Virgin Care.

To access help, visit the respective centre that you would like to use and speak to the receptionist. Once you are booked in, you will be seen by a clinician who will decide how urgent your case is and you will be then be seen in priority order.

Patient Access

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.

You can find pharmacy opening times in Southport and Formby over the bank holiday here.

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