With just over a week left until Easter, doctors in Birmingham are asking local people to plan ahead with some simple steps to stay happy and healthy over the long bank holiday weekend (14-17 April).

This includes collecting repeat prescriptions in advance of the long weekend, and making sure that their home medicine cabinets are stocked up with the basics to treat minor ailments and illnesses.

People are also being reminded to check their options if they are unwell over Easter and to dial 111 if they need urgent medical help, but aren’t sure where to go. NHS 111 is free to call and available 24/7.

Services such as urgent care and walk-in centres, out-of-hours GPs and some pharmacists will all be available over the bank holiday weekend; people who aren’t sure which service to use, can get advice and guidance from NHS 111.

Dr Gavin Ralston, a local Harborne GP and Chair of NHS Birmingham CrossCity CCG, said: “Easter is always a busy time for NHS services in Birmingham. It’s really important that local people are prepared for their healthcare needs. In particular, we’re urging those who have repeat prescriptions to make sure they have enough medication to last the long weekend, when many pharmacies and GP surgeries will be closed. It’s also important that anyone who needs urgent medical help uses the right service for their needs; NHS 111 can offer advice on the best local service. By following this simple advice, people can get the right treatment sooner.”

Checklist for the bank holiday weekend:

· If you need medical help urgently, but aren’t sure where to go, call NHS 111 at any time for advice and guidance.
· Remember that many GPs and pharmacies will be closed from the end of the day on Thursday 13 April to the morning of Tuesday 18 April, so pick up repeat prescriptions well in advance.
· If you need to see your GP for a routine appointment before the Bank Holiday, make sure you book it in good time.
· Make sure you can treat very minor ailments at home by stocking up your home medicine cabinet with basics such as: painkillers, antihistamines, oral rehydration salts and indigestion remedies. You should also make sure you have a basic first aid kit to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises. Ask your pharmacist for advice, always read the label and make sure that all medicines are kept out of the reach of children.
· If you need advice about caring for a poorly child, call 111. It’s free from mobiles as well as landlines and available 24/7. We have also produced a guide for parents of children aged 0-5 here: http://bit.ly/2hrXHnm
· Remember, some pharmacies will be available throughout the bank holiday weekend and can dispense prescriptions and emergency contraception, if required. Information about which Birmingham pharmacies are open will be available on our website from next week (www.bhamcrosscityccg.nhs.uk)
· Use A&E and 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies only, such as unconsciousness, severe chest pain or strokes.
· If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 first.