Accessing NHS services this Easter
09 April 2020

Your NHS services are still operating to care for and treat people over this Easter holiday weekend – despite the temporary changes brought in to help tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.

Please remember to stay at home to stay safe and help the NHS save lives.

If you have a high temperature, a continuous cough and think you may have COVID-19, and need care or advice, please contact NHS111 online at www.111.nhs.uk. Please do not visit your GP practice, pharmacy or any other healthcare venue.

However if you have other health-related issues and need advice and treatment, then all GP practices on the island will open on Good Friday and Bank Holiday Monday. On Saturday April 11 and Sunday April 12, GP access will be the same as any other weekend.

In particular, if children have periods of prolonged fever, pain or other changes such as prolonged loss of appetite, vomiting, not passing urine, tummy pain and other worrying symptoms, their parent or carer should call their GP surgery for advice as usual.

Dr Michele Legg, GP and clinical chair of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you think you need to be seen, please use your practice’s website for an online consultation or phone to discuss whether you need an appointment.

“People who feel unwell and think they may need a GP appointment should still phone their surgery in the usual way, especially with problems such as like breast lumps, chest pain, and blood in urine.

“Many patients can receive the appropriate advice and support over the phone, with appointments only being arranged for those who really need to see someone face-to-face. This may not be at your usual practice but this will be explained to you when the appointment is made.

“These are exceptional circumstances and the NHS is, as everyone knows, facing major pressures but our staff are still here to help you.

“We know for many people it will be really difficult not seeing family and friends over Easter but there are specialist services available to help you, including a range of mental health support."

As well as most GP practices, the following options are available this Easter.

  • Pharmacies will be open to provide prescriptions and essential over-the-counter medication. They will be open from 2pm-5pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday and some may be open longer. Check their opening times on their website or visit www.nhs.uk - before you travel
  • NHS111 online (www.111.nhs.uk) is able to provide advice and care for a range of issues. Please only call 111 if you can’t get online or you’ve been instructed travel
  • For mental health support over 18s can call the Safe Haven on 01983 520168 or email safehaven@twosaints.org.uk from 10am-10pm on weekends and bank holidays. There’s also a 24/7 mental health crisis number for adults and those under 18 - 01983 522214
  • Isle of Wight Urgent Treatment Centre, St Mary’s Hospital. Call NHS 111 and if appropriate they may signpost you to the UTC. Please do not turn up without taking advice from NHS 111.
  • Emergency dental treatment. If patients have a dental emergency they should call their dental practice during opening hours for advice. If they do not have a regular NHS dentist, they can search for a local dentist on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk and call them. In the evening and at weekends, patients can contact NHS 111, which will provide advice and direct patients to an out of hours service if necessary. When patients call a practice, a telephone assessment will assess their dental needs, offer advice or prescribe medication to relieve any pain or treat an infection.
  • Isle of Wight Council has set up a helpline -call 01983 823 600, seven days a week 9am-5pm.

Dr Legg added: “The NHS is working extremely hard to make sure everyone is able to receive the care they need during these difficult times. The changes in place will help us to do this and local people can help by choosing the right service if they need care over the Easter weekend.

“However, please remember to use our Emergency Departments and/or 999 for life threatening situations such as heart attacks, strokes and serious blood loss. They remain open and able to treat people who need the specialist lifesaving care they provide.”

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