Residents in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to think early about repeat prescriptions and opening hours for GP practices and community pharmacies as the late May bank holiday approaches.

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 Llinos Roberts, GP at Tumble surgery, said: “Emergency services are available throughout the 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.”

Jill Paterson, Interim Director of Primary Care, Commissioning and Therapies and Health Sciences at Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “It is important to be prepared and organised with your medications at all times but particularly approaching a Bank Holiday. However should you require advice for health concerns during this period, a range of services including your local Pharmacist, and a round-the-clock GP out of hours service will be available if you have an urgent problem when your surgery is closed.”

If you need GP services when your usual surgery is closed at night or on weekends, you can ring your usual GP telephone number and you will be put through to the out-of-hours service. In Carmarthenshire, patients can now dial 111 to be put through to their GP Out of Hours.

For urgent dental care, you should 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 ailments and illnesses can often be supported by a Community Pharmacist, without an appointment or the need to wait a long time. For a list of pharmacists in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire open during the Bank Holidays, visit the webpage http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/862/page/46867

You can also check your medicine cabinet in advance to ensure you have a good supply of over the counter medicines which are useful should you need 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.

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