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Choose Well This Easter

Clinicians are urging everyone stock up their medicine cabinets in time for the Easter break, and choose their health services wisely.

GP practices and pharmacies work together to provide services on a rota over public holiday time ensuring the public can still access healthcare.

This does mean that your nearest pharmacy or GP surgery could be closed throughout the Easter weekend, so people are being encouraged to make sure they have enough medication at home to deal with minor injuries and common ailments like coughs, sneezes and stomach upsets.

People with long-term conditions are also being urged to make sure they collect repeat prescriptions in good time and - as always - think twice before going to A&E.

Paul Johnstone, director for public health for NHS North of England, said:"Prevention is always better than cure, so by making sure you have everything you need ahead of the Easter period you will give yourself the best chance of staying out of hospital.

"There are a number of different things people can do to manage whatever condition they may be living with. For example, making sure you collect your repeat prescription in good time will mean you're well be equipped for the Easter break.

"If you need to use NHS services, by looking at the sort of services which are on offer you can choose the most appropriate place for you, this will help you get the sort of care you need and also help to alleviate pressure on A&E services. 

"If you do feel unwell there are lots of things you can do to treat your symptoms at home. Stocking up on medicine cabinet essentials like plasters, antiseptic cream, paracetamol and indigestion remedies will ensure you're prepared to treat minor illnesses and injuries.

"Whilst shopping for Easter treats why not call in at your local pharmacy and pick up a few extras - your pharmacist will be able to advise you on what you need."

By following the 'Choose Well' advice (below) people can also make sure they get the right treatment from the most appropriate NHS service.  

  • Hangover, sore throat or cough? Self Care. Very minor illnesses and injuries can be easily treated at home using medicine cabinet essentials like plasters, bandages, antiseptic creams and over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and cough medicine.
  • Diarrhoea, runny nose, painful cough or headache? Visit your local pharmacy. Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional and can give you the advice and medicines you need to treat yourself when you have a common health problem which does not require attention from a doctor or nurse.
  • Vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache? See your doctor. Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away.
  • Cuts, rashes or strains? Visit an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit. If you need medical treatment or advice which does not need a visit to A&E, an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit is the best choice. You do not need to make an appointment and you will be seen by an experienced nurse.
  • Choking, chest pain, severe bleeding or blacking out? Go to A&E or call 999. If you need immediate emergency care for serious illness or life-threatening situations go to A&E or call 999.
  • Unwell or unsure? Call NHS Direct. If you are unsure or have any questions, call 0845 4647 or log on to www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk