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Public urged to think ‘pharmacy or GP first’ this Easter

Tuesday, 11 April, 2017
Public urged to think ‘pharmacy or GP first’ this Easter

People in Northumberland and North Tyneside who need help from the NHS this Easter are being reminded that pharmacies and GP services are available throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is raising awareness among residents that access to pharmacies and GPs is available every day, including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

For quick access to health advice and treatment, people with non-emergency issues are being urged to make use of local pharmacies with premises open across the area every day. To find out what is open when, visit

Pharmacists are highly-trained experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer expert advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughscolds and stomach upsets. No appointment is necessary and many pharmacies have private consultation areas and can advise whether further medical attention is required.

Although some GP practices are closed over Easter, the NHS has been working to ensure people across the region will be able to access a GP appointment should they need one. To do this simply ring the free NHS 111 number, available 24/7, to make an appointment.

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Bank holidays are extremely busy times for the NHS and we’re appealing to the public to use services wisely this Easter and leave our emergency services – such as 999 and The Northumbria hospital – for those who need them most.

“Easter is an ideal opportunity to be able to spend time with family and friends and, particularly if the weather is good, get out and about. No one wants illness or injury to disrupt their plans however, if it does happen, there are a range of NHS services available to enable you to get expert help fast.

“There are pharmacies open every day throughout the bank holiday weekend which can effectively manage a range of issues and you can access GP appointments, and gain advice on which service to access for the severity of your condition, by calling the free NHS 111 number.

“Being prepared by having a well-stocked medicines cabinet is also a good idea and ensures you are well-placed to deal with the common ailments and injuries which may arise.”

Chris Gray, medical director for NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “If people have a non-emergency health problem over the Easter weekend, they should please call 111 to make an appointment with a GP. By doing this, they will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an A&E department.

“Pharmacists can also provide instant, confidential advice and treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.

“This is a plea for people to use our NHS services responsibly to make sure that NHS staff, who work incredibly hard around the clock, can provide appropriate care to patients.

“Our A&E departments can get extremely busy over bank holidays and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need, and that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting in accident and emergency departments.”

Advice for parents is also available on the free NHS child health app. The app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, search for ‘NHS child health’.

People can access information about walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units by logging onto the NHS Choices website They can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest services.