Doctors and nurses are urging local people to add health into their list of spring clean jobs this Easter.

Staff at Hywel Dda University Health Board are reminding people of the need to think early about repeat prescriptions, and opening hours of GP surgeries and community pharmacies as we approach the Easter Holidays.

And choosing well when you need health advice or support – by using NHS Direct or visiting your pharmacy – can have a hugely positive impact on busy Emergency Departments during peak holiday periods.

Mr Jeremy Williams, A&E consultant and clinical lead for unscheduled care said: “The best way the public can help our frontline staff, and ensure that they and their families can be seen quickly, is to use other health services and reserve our Emergency Departments for serious or life threatening situations. Ultimately this helps us to save lives.”

The Choose Well guidance can help families when they aren’t sure of the best health service to meet their needs. You can access advice and local contacts from the webpage www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/choosewell, or by downloading the Choose Well app on your mobile phone, which uses GPS to find your nearest service.

GPs advise that you get repeat prescriptions in as early as possible to avoid any delay.

Dr Alan Williams, GP at Ty Elli surgery in Llanelli, said: “Emergency services are available throughout the Easter Bank Holiday but please help those in need of emergency care by making sure you have your routine medication in stock and only attend Emergency Departments or Out of Hours GP is you cannot wait until after the holidays.”

Tregaron GP Dr Sion James, GP lead for North Ceredigion, added: “It is important to be prepared and organised with your medications at all times but particularly approaching a Bank Holiday. Lots of services, your local Pharmacist and a round the clock GP out of hours, are available if you have an urgent problem when your surgery is closed.”

When your usual GP is closed at night or on the weekends, if you need GP services you can ring your usual GP telephone number and will be put through to the out-of-hours service. For urgent dental care contact your regular dentist or NHS Direct Wales Dental Helpline on 0845 46 47. For urgent social care phone Social Services who have an out of hours number: Carmarthenshire – 01558 824283, Ceredigion – 0845 6015392, Pembrokeshire – 08708 509508. If someone is in mental health distress, use C.A.L.L. Mental Health Helpline on 0800 132 737, Text ‘help’ to 81066, or visit www.callhelpline.org.uk

Minor alignments and illnesses can often be supported by a community pharmacist, without an appointment or need to wait a long time. For a list of pharmacists in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire open during the Easter Bank Holidays, visit the webpage http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/46867

You could also check your medicine cabinet in advance to check you have a good supply of over the counter medicines which are useful to manage conditions at home. Here are some items you should keep in a child safe cupboard:

• Pain killing medicine e.g. paracetamol

• Anti-diarrhoeal medicine

• Rehydration mixture

• Indigestion remedy

• Plasters

• Thermometer

In an emergency, life threatening situation, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you need treatment that cannot wait but is not an emergency and you don’t know where to go, contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

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