17 April 2019 - Ambulance Service Encourages People to Plan Ahead of Easter Weekend

With the long weekend on the horizon, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is urging people to plan ahead of the Easter Bank Holidays by stocking up on essential medication.

NWAS is expecting a 31% increase in calls to its NHS 111 service over the bank holiday weekend and is reminding people that NHS 111 Online is the new way to access healthcare for patients who need urgent help and advice and unsure where to turn.

With pharmacy and GP closures, it’s important to check local chemist opening times, collect any prescriptions in plenty of time and keep medicine cupboards stocked up with common ailments such as sunscreen and a first aid kit.

Jackie Bell, Head of Service for 111 at NWAS, said: “Easter is one of the busiest times of year for our NHS 111 service. With two bank holidays and Easter Sunday, people often forget to make sure they have the medication they need in plenty of time and may need medical help before their GP reopens on Tuesday.

“We’ll be increasing our staffing levels by 45% with more health advisors on duty over the weekend but we’re urging people to make the most of NHS 111 Online if they need to which is now available across the North West.”

The ambulance service also tends to see a rise in avoidable emergency 999 calls over the Easter break. Examples of calls from last year that were able to be managed by a clinician over the phone included someone struggling to sleep, back pain lasting a few days, a patient who had drank too much alcohol and a filling fallen out of a tooth. 

Emergency Operations Centre Sector Manager, Peter Ballan said: “With the forecast looking good, we know that lots of people will be enjoying the sun outdoors so please take extra safety precautions and if you’re having an Easter tipple, please know your limits.

“We also tend to see an increase in calls around the holiday periods as many people don’t know what alternative care is available when their GP practice is closed.

“Wherever possible we aim to encourage self-care at home for minor ailments and therefore it is important to keep a well-stocked medicine cupboard including essentials such as:

  • Paracetamol
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-diarrhoea tablets
  • Indigestion treatment
  • Sunscreen
  • A first aid kit

“Information on a wide range of common health problems can be found on www.nhs.uk.”

999 is for life-threatening emergencies and for everything else NWAS urges people to consider self-care at home or NHS 111 Online: 111.nhs.uk