Doctors in Birmingham are urging patients to stock up their medicine cabinets in time for the Easter break – and advising them what to do if they need help urgently.
Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans, designs and funds health services for more than 742,000 people in the city, is calling on patients to make sure they have enough medication for the holiday period.
CCG chair Dr Gavin Ralston, a GP in Harborne, said: "A&E – accident and emergency – is only for life-threatening emergencies. There are many other services available that can advise on and treat minor illnesses and injuries more quickly.
"These include GP out-of-hours services, urgent care and walk-in centres, NHS111 and pharmacies. Six of our local walk-in centres in Birmingham are open every day of the year – including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
"Everyone can also take simple steps to keep themselves and their family well, such as stocking up the medicine cabinet with painkillers, cough and cold remedies, indigestion tablets, anti-diarrhoea remedies, plasters and bandages.
"If you're taking regular medicines, make sure you've got enough to last over the holidays and allow plenty of time to order your repeat prescriptions from your GP.
"Don't let illness ruin your Easter – make sure you're prepared and if something goes wrong, don't go to A&E unless it really is an emergency."
If you're not sure which health service to use, visit the Choose Well website, which contains lots of useful information about the different services available: www.choosewellmidlands.nhs.uk or call the free advice helpline NHS111.