Health officials are urging people to stock up their medicine cabinets ahead of the long Jubilee bank holiday weekend.
Residents across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being reminded that most minor illnesses and injuries can be safely treated at home with the aid of a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
The advice comes ahead of the extended bank holiday weekend, as GP practices across the region, as well as other NHS services, will be closed on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 June for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
People are therefore encouraged to stock up on essential items, such as paracetamol, indigestion tablets, antihistamines, anti-diarrhoea tablets and digital thermometers.
Selected pharmacies will remain open on the bank holidays, as will urgent and emergency care services, including NHS 111.
However, new data recorded over the last two bank holiday weekends has shown that hundreds of people who contacted NHS 111 could have saved time by managing their symptoms through simple self-care methods.
Throughout the Easter weekend, 1,417 calls to 111 ended with the callers being advised to treat their condition at home, which is more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all calls made during the four-day break.
A similar picture was also seen during the Early May Bank Holiday weekend when a further 815 callers – 23 per cent of all calls made that weekend – were told that self-care would be the most appropriate treatment plan for their symptoms.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer for the soon-to-be established BSW Integrated Care Board, said: “As a clinician, I can’t emphasise enough how important and valuable good self-care can be, especially during a bank holiday weekend, which is always an incredibly busy time for the health and care system.
“Self-care not only allows people to manage their symptoms at home, which, for most, is a much more attractive option than sitting in a clinical waiting room, it also enables our hard-working frontline teams to focus all their attention on those people who will most benefit from it.”
She continued to explain that while they do want everybody to enjoy the celebratory weekend, by keeping these medicines at home, people can help the already stretched NHS on what will already be a hectic weekend.
Hospital emergency departments, along with the urgent treatment centres, will be open throughout the Jubilee weekend for people experiencing serious health issues, such as heavy bleeding, loss of consciousness, chest pain and broken bones.
NHS 111 will be available as usual throughout the bank holiday weekend.
Opening times for the selected pharmacies that will be staying open on the bank holiday can be found online at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.
People can access general health advice from the NHS website by visiting www.nhs.uk.