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Getting the help you need this Easter weekend

Image showing calendar, reminding people to get prescriptions before the Easter bank holiday 15 - 18 April

Published: 5 April 2022

  • The NHS in Devon is reminding people how to access health services and get the care they need this Easter bank holiday weekend
  • Most GP practices will be closed on Good Friday and bank holiday Monday
  • For urgent advice, people are advised to ‘Think 111 First’ and contact NHS 111 for advice over the long weekend
  • Contacting 111 by phone or online, will mean advisors can direct people to the most appropriate local service for their needs

With Easter fast approaching, Devon’s NHS leaders are calling on people to be prepared ahead of the bank holidays and the two-week school holiday period.

The long Easter weekend traditionally puts extra pressure on health services when most GP practices are closed and more people are outdoors enjoying everything Devon has to offer.

Most GP practices will be closed for Easter for four days from Friday 15 April to Monday 18 April, with normal opening hours resuming on Tuesday.

Each Easter sees many patients calling the NHS 111 helpline because they have run out of medication, leading to unnecessary worry for themselves and increasing pressure on busy urgent care and out-of-hours NHS services.

Dr Paul Johnson, Medical Director for NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Please be prepared this Easter to check that you have enough of your prescription medication to get you through the long weekend and any trips away that you may be planning.

“We want to ensure people are able to enjoy their trips and the Easter break without having to spend time worrying about how to access medical care if they need it.

“The NHS is here if you need us. Contacting 111 first will get you the right treatment, more quickly. You can access the most appropriate care and advice more quickly and conveniently by calling 111 or visiting, at any time of day or night.”

People are being reminded that if they need to speak to their GP while away from home over the holidays, that they can contact their practice for an online consultation and advice during practice opening hours. This advice also applies to visitors travelling to Devon. All GP practices now offer remote consultations, either online or by telephone, and can be contacted for advice when away from home.

For urgent advice, the message is to ‘Think 111 first’. NHS 111 can be contacted from anywhere by phone or online, at any time of day or night.

If you need further care or medication, NHS 111 advisors will direct you to the most appropriate service. They can also book appointments and check opening times for your nearest Minor Injury Unit or Urgent Treatment Centre.

If you need emergency care, NHS 111 advisors will arrange for you to be seen at a local Emergency Department. They will ensure that staff in the department are expecting you and will see you as quickly as possible.