Dr Nick Tupper blog: Be prepared for the Easter bank holiday

EASTER-EGGS-IN-A-WICKER-BASKET-WALLPAPEREaster is nearly two weeks away and many Doncaster people won’t be sure what they’re doing yet, but that’s not the case at your local NHS where we’ve been making plans for quite a while.

Most local GP surgeries will be closed this year for four consecutive days, from around 6pm on Thursday 24 March until they re-open again on the morning of Tuesday 29 March.

You will still be able to contact a GP in Doncaster during this shutdown period if you feel unwell. Simply ring your normal surgery number and you will either be automatically transferred to the out of hours’ service, or a pre-recorded message will tell you the number to ring.

That service operates day and night all year round when your own GP practice is closed, as do many other local services that Doncaster people need at short notice.

Whatever your plans for Easter, it’s helpful if you have everything prepared, and that means remembering to order your repeat prescriptions as well as your chocolate eggs.

Check that you have enough to last over the long Easter weekend and, if not, contact your GP surgery to order one. Don’t leave it any later than Tuesday 22 March to allow for the prescription to be processed and your medicines to be available at your local pharmacy before the Good Friday bank holiday.

Make sure that you keep a stock of basic medication for common health problems like colds, aches and pains which you can easily treat at home. Your local pharmacist is a great source of advice and help if you’re not sure what to buy over the counter, but here are a few things you should try and keep in:

  • Pain relief such as paracetamol and aspirin (aspirin should not be given to children under 16 or to people with asthma)
  • Paediatric paracetamol oral suspension or ibuprofen syrups for children
  • Mild laxatives to relieve constipation
  • Cold relief products
  • Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting to use if feeling dehydrated after a bout of sickness or diarrhea
  • Indigestion remedy
  • Travel sickness tablets for family trips
  • A thermometer to check for fever
  • A range of bandages, plasters, non-absorbent cotton wool, elastic bandages and dressings

If you have any health concerns your local pharmacist can also answer your questions and offer advice. Many local pharmacies also have a consultation room where you can talk to the pharmacist confidentially.

If you go to the www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk website and click on the Your Care section you will find a lot of useful help and advice about which local health service to contact if you’re feeling unwell or have been injured.  You can read the Choose Well leaflet or download free or charge our special app, which is available for both Android and iPhones.

Choosing the right service, and staying away from A&E unless it’s a real emergency, will help the many health staff who will be working over Easter.

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