Health chiefs are urging residents to think pharmacy or GP, instead of A&E, for any non-emergency health issues over Easter.
Although some GP practices are closed over the Easter bank holidays, the NHS has been working to ensure people can access a GP appointment or pharmacist should they need advice or treatment for a wide range of minor illnesses or ailments.
If people need urgent advice for something serious, but are not sure whether to go to A&E, the NHS 111 service provides advice from qualified clinicians.
To find the nearest pharmacy opening times visit https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy/
Dr Jonathan Slade, NHS England’s Deputy Medical Director in Cumbria and the North East, said: “Many GPs have extended hours of opening and pharmacists are open for business over the bank holidays, but please make sure you order your prescriptions before the holiday weekend.”
He added: “We’d like to reassure people that if they call 111, they will be allocated an appointment should they need one. This is a particularly important for older people, people with long-term health conditions and for parents to know.”
Many urgent care and walk-in centres will also be open. To find out which services are open, and which are local to you, log onto www.nhs.uk or www.urgentoremergency.co.uk
Dr Slade added: “Emergency departments get extremely busy during holiday periods and we want to ensure that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting at A&E.
“For minor illnesses, your local pharmacist is an excellent source of help and should be your first point of contact.”