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Health services at Easter

Use the health services that are right for your this Easter
With Easter early this year, we're asking people to use the health services that are right for them during the bank holiday.

The long Easter weekend traditionally puts extra pressure on health services, with visitors to South Devon and Torbay increasing the number of people here at a time when GP practices are closed.

So South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for the vast majority of healthcare in the area, is reminding people of the range of health advice and treatment available at pharmacies.

Dr John Whitehead, CCG lead for primary care, said: “While GP surgeries are closed, there will be a number of community pharmacies open, all of which offer an array of services.

“Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who can help with many people’s health problems, and they can offer a private space to talk with someone about their symptoms.

“Of course, many minor ailments and conditions can be treated at home with advice and remedies from their local pharmacist.

“By visiting a pharmacist, people with a minor ailment will avoid a long wait in A&E, where staff will be dealing with the patients who really need their urgent attention.

“There are also minor injury units at our community hospitals, where people can have their bumps, bruises, smaller cuts and sprains looked after. The minor injury units are open at their normal times during bank holidays.

“In addition, patients who take regular medication should ensure they have enough repeat medicines in stock to last through the holiday period.

“Anyone needing a repeat prescription should contact their practice early so that prescriptions can be ready and patients don’t risk leaving a gap in their treatment.

“But in cases where, for whatever reason, someone is unable to stock up on their medication ahead of the bank holiday, an emergency supply can be obtained from the local pharmacist.

“For anyone uncertain or concerned about their illness, or if they need to consult a doctor out of hours, they can call the confidential NHS 111 helpline, which is free from mobiles and landlines.”