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The NHS in West Yorkshire is urging people to plan ahead for their healthcare needs in the run up to what is expected to be a really busy time for health and care services across the area.

With two upcoming bank holidays it’s important that you are prepared and know how to get help if needed during this time. West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership is also reminding people to double check they have enough medication to last through the holidays and to order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time.

May Day bank holiday falls on Monday 6 May and spring bank holiday falls on Monday 27 May. Over these busy bank holiday periods, people are asked to think ahead and to choose the right service for their healthcare needs.

Although a number of pharmacy and GP services will be available over the bank holiday, many will be closed or have different opening times. So please do check that you or the person you care for have enough medication to last over the long weekends.

Make it the top of your to-do list as allowing enough time is essential for ordering and the collection of supplies.

Dr James Thomas, Medical Director for the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Stay well over the holidays and protect yourself and others by planning ahead. Please don’t forget that due to the bank holiday it may take a little longer to receive your medication if you need a repeat prescription.

“All our health and care services continue to be really busy so if you find you don’t have enough medicines, it puts additional demand on already stretched services. Checking supplies in advance is one of the ways to help our NHS. If you do need repeat medicines during the bank holiday period, visit 111.nhs.uk and they can look to arrange a supply, if safe and appropriate.”

Many health and care staff will be working over the bank holiday period, and services are likely to be extremely busy. There are steps we can all take to make sure we use the most appropriate service for our needs to support our busy health services. If you do become unwell visit togetherwe-can.com for advice or 111.nhs.uk

For people who have repeat prescriptions, electronic repeat dispensing (known as eRD) gives them the reassurance of knowing their next prescription will be ready for collection at their pharmacy when they need it, and flexibility so they have medication at busy times. Guidance on how to order a repeat prescription is also available on the NHS website, or you can use the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions.

Please do choose well. Together we can make a real difference so please:

  • Save time by seeking medical advice and booking appointments online via the NHS App or your GP practice website.
  • Use 111.nhs.uk if it’s not an emergency and you need health advice quickly. The friendly team at NHS 111 or calling 111 if you don’t have access to the internet, they will be able to help you get the care you need.
  • You should only call 999 for an ambulance in an emergency, when it is life-threatening or very serious.
  • People may also consider having at home a small stock of basic medicines for minor illness or injury. These may include paracetamol, plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine. See the NHS website for advice on what you should keep in your first aid kit, or ask your local pharmacist for advice.
  • Over the bank holiday some pharmacies might have different opening hours. Search ‘Find a pharmacy NHS’ to find an open pharmacy near you Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  • If you need medication when your own GP or pharmacy is closed, there’s information about how you can get medicines out of hours on the NHS website.
  • Some GP practices offer extended opening hours during evening and weekends. If you think you need to see your GP team, contact them as you usually would.
  • Find self-care tips and local services’ information at togetherwe-can.com. Visit wyhealthiertogether.nhs.uk for trustworthy healthcare advice for parents and carers.
  • Don’t wait until you are in mental health crisis. There’s a wide range of support and resources available for everyone, including a 24/7 free phone line. Visit togetherwe-can.com/mental-health
  • It’s very important that people who need medical care come forward, especially when someone has a life-threatening illness or injury. A range of services are available to ensure Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) are freed up to treat those with life-threatening and critical illnesses or injuries. Care for life-threatening or serious illness/injury will be prioritised.
  • Please look out for your neighbours who may live alone or be lonely.