As the Easter holiday approaches, GPs in Tower Hamlets are urging people to use local healthcare services wisely – as well as reminding them they can access treatment and advice from their local pharmacy and NHS 111.
The Easter period is a busy time of the year for local GP practices and hospitals. To ensure everyone can receive the care and treatment they need, it is important to remember there are a number of ways to get advice and support from the NHS locally.
This includes visiting your local pharmacy for help treating coughs, colds and other minor ailments, and calling NHS 111 free if you need health advice urgently. It is also advisable to keep your medicine cabinet well stocked with supplies such as paracetamol, indigestion medication and plasters to help you deal with any minor health issues should the need arise.
If you have a long-term health condition, you should ensure you prepare for the upcoming bank holidays by requesting well in advance any repeat prescriptions you might need.
Over the Easter period, people in Tower Hamlets have a number of healthcare options:
- Visit a pharmacy – Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy and speaking to a pharmacist without having to make an appointment. Your pharmacist can offer advice on how to look after yourself at home with rest and over-the-counter treatments. A number of pharmacies will be open in Tower Hamlets over the Easter period, including on Good Friday and Easter Sunday and Monday. A full list will be available in the download area.
- NHS 111 service – If you need medical help fast, but your condition is not life threatening, you can call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays, the freephone number is staffed by trained advisors and experienced clinicians who can assess you, offer advice and direct you to the right place to get the medical care you need as quickly as possible.
- Walk-in services – These can treat most minor injuries that are urgent, but not life threatening, including suspected broken bones, cuts and rashes, minor burns, bruises, bites and stings. There are two GP-led walk-in services in Tower Hamlets and both are open 8am to 8pm every day of the week, including bank holidays:
- The Barkantine walk-in service, 121 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, London E14 8JH. Phone: 0207 510 4000
- St Andrews Health Centre, 2 Hannaford Walk, London E3 3FF. Phone: 020 8980 1888
- GP out of hours service – If you are unwell outside your GP’s normal opening hours, you can call the Tower Hamlets out of hours GP service on 020 7377 7151. The service is open 6.30pm to 8am, Monday to Friday, and 24 hours a day during weekends and bank holidays. A call handler will take your details and a GP will then return your call.
- Mental health support - If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues and would like to seek help or advice, visit your local GP to discuss talking therapies, visit the Compass Wellbeing website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel your mental health is deteriorating or if you are in distress and you need to contact a mental health professional out of office hours, call 020 3594 3179.
Sir Sam Everington, a local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With Easter approaching, being well prepared is essential. This includes making sure you know where to go for NHS care as there are a number of options locally.
“Choosing the right service ensures that you receive treatment you need in the right place at the right time – allowing our urgent care teams to focus on those who need them most.
“As well as being a valuable source of advice and offering over-the-counter medicines, pharmacies can also provide repeat prescriptions – but please be aware that the NHS receives many requests for these during this period.
“Ordering your repeat prescriptions well in advance will ensure you are well prepared for the four-day Easter bank holiday weekend. If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, you can assist them by asking if they need help collecting their medications.”
For more advice to help you and your family stay well, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell