People living across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been encouraged not to leave it too late to order repeat prescriptions if they are due in the next few days ahead of the Easter break and the following days of industrial action which will see significant pressure on the NHS.
As GP practices will be closed on Friday 7 April (Good Friday) and Monday 10 April (Easter Monday), it is important to make sure prescriptions are ordered beforehand.
Urgent treatment centres often see an increase in people attending on a bank holiday because they have run out of medication and the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is hoping to keep the pressure off those services by reminding people to think ahead.
In addition, this year, the Easter Bank Holiday will be followed by four days of industrial action by junior doctors, during which time the NHS is expecting significant disruption and it is vital the public are aware of the pressure the health service will be under and know the best way to access care during that time.
Dr Peter Gregory, associate medical director for NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises healthcare services in the region, said: “Bank holidays are typically a busy time for health services and you can play your part by being prepared and knowing what support is available for you should you need it.
“If you have a long-term health condition that relies on medication, such as asthma and diabetes, please make sure you order your prescription in plenty of time.
“Any repeat medicines needed over the bank holiday weekend should be ordered before Friday 31 March at the latest to make sure there is enough time for them to be processed and dispensed. Most GP practices need a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to issue a repeat prescription.
“Community pharmacies also generally need between 24 and 48 hours from when they receive a repeat prescription to prepare medicines.”
The number of junior doctors based in GP practices who will be taking industrial action is smaller. However, GP practices and pharmacies are an important part of the response from the local NHS to make sure that urgent patients continue to be seen as a priority and will be looking to put in additional capacity during the industrial action period.
Please continue to attend your GP and dental appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.
It is also worth checking your general medicine cabinet before the bank holiday to make sure it is well stocked with essentials such as paracetamol, cough and cold remedies, antihistamines, and plasters and bandages. These can all be bought cheaply from supermarkets or pharmacies and your local pharmacist can also provide free, confidential, expert advice and treatment for a variety of common complaints.
Some local pharmacies will be open on bank holidays and are able to provide expert advice and deal with minor ailments and illnesses. Details of which pharmacies will be open on Easter Bank Holiday weekend will be available soon on the Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB website.