Suffolk doctors ask people to prepare for bank holiday weekend closures

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The early May bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and ahead of the long weekend local GPs are urging people to be prepared and to use NHS services wisely.

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Please remember that your hospital’s emergency department (A&E) is for life-threatening emergencies only and staff is busy saving people’s lives. A&E shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to your GP, so please consider the other options available to you.

“One of the best things you can do to be prepared is to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet as you’ll be able to quickly deal with unexpected minor injury and illness. Medicine cabinet basics include painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen, antihistamines to deal with insect bites and stings, anti-diarrhoeal medicine for upset tummies and plasters and bandages. Pop into your local pharmacy for advice on what you should stock up on.

“GP practices will be closed on Monday 2nd May and will re-open on Tuesday 3rd May. If you have an urgent medical question that can’t wait until your GP practice is open then please call NHS 111. You can dial 111 anytime day or night, the service never closes and you will speak to a Suffolk-based trained advisor who will give you the best advice to meet your needs.”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Please make sure you have enough repeat prescription medicine to last over the holiday weekend and remember it takes 48 hours for a GP practice to process a repeat prescription request.

“Some pharmacies will be open for limited hours on Monday 2nd May. You shouldn’t underestimate the knowledge your pharmacist has. They can offer help and advice for many medical conditions and offer over-the-counter medicine to help you deal with them.”

The bank holiday weekends are always a very busy time for the NHS, so please be prepared and always use the most appropriate service for your needs.