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Unwell at August Bank Holiday? See a pharmacist for medication or ailments

19 August 2016


People sometimes go to A&E with common illnesses or aches and pains over bank holidays as their GP surgery is closed. But did you know that your local pharmacist can offer advice and provide medication for a range of common ailments? Many pharmacies are open over the bank holiday weekend.

Pharmacists can issue an emergency supply of any prescription medication that isn’t a controlled drug. You can see your local high street pharmacist anytime: just walk in, without an appointment.

If you are prescribed regular medication, make sure you order enough in advance to see you through the holiday weekend.

You can find a list of pharmacies in Bedfordshire which will be open over the bank holiday weekend, by visiting www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk.

Head of Medicines Management for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) and a pharmacist said: “Pharmacists can help with a wide range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as headaches and back pain, coughs and colds, sore throat, upset stomach and skin rashes. They can help choose the best medicines such as pain killers and anti-histamines and help people stock their medicine cabinet at home to treat minor illnesses and ailments.

“It is best to make sure you don’t run out of regular prescribed medicines over the holiday weekend, as GPs are closed on the bank holiday Monday and not all pharmacies will be open.

Order your medication in good time, but if you do run out, a pharmacy can issue an emergency supply of any prescribed medication with the exception of any controlled drugs.”

Even if your local surgery is closed, remember that a GP is available 24/7 through the local out of hours service. Just call your usual surgery number or check their website for information.

 The Putnoe Walk-in Centre, Bedford is open 8am – 6.30pm, 365 days a year – including bank holidays, and can help with minor illnesses such as cuts and grazes, strains and sprains, and an array of other common ailments as a safe, speedy alternative to A&E.

If you think you need health advice urgently, call 111 to talk to NHS staff who can put you in touch with the right healthcare.

Visit nhs.uk to find out details of your local NHS services as well as lots of information about illness, symptoms and treatments.

Notes to editors

At Putnoe walk in centre, the majority of patients are seen within one hour. The wait in Accident and Emergency Department for non-urgent problems may be much longer as the most unwell patients are seen as a priority.

Please note that the Walk-In Centre is a nurse-led service.  Whilst a GP is always available if clinically required you are most likely to be seen by a Minor Illness Specialist Nurse in the first instance.

For more information about controlled drugs visit http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1391.aspx?CategoryID=73

Visit www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/selfcare or www.nhs.uk/chemist to find more information about your nearest pharmacy including the services they offer and their opening times. Many pharmacies are open late and at weekends.

Common medicines available over-the-counter can treat a range of minor ailments such as:aches and pains, heartburn and indigestion, coughs and colds, hay fever and allergies, sore throat , eczema, upset stomach , athlete's foot, skin rashes, headlice.

BCCG is a GP-led commissioning group that purchases secondary and community health services for the people of Bedfordshire. For more information go to: www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk

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