Doctors are urging people to remember that NHS services are still there for them over the long bank holiday weekend, whatever their need.
Although Covid-19 is still a big priority for health services everywhere, the NHS across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is geared up to offer whatever support people may need – including on Bank Holiday Monday, on 25 May.
If anyone needs urgent help or advice regarding an injury, an physical illness, or concerns over their emotional and mental health, skilled staff are available to help.
Dr Andrew Holden, a GP in Petersfield and the primary care lead for NHS Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “It is really important that people know the NHS is still there to help this bank holiday – and every day. Clearly, if you have a minor problem which can be sorted at home, or with over-the-counter medicines, then that is what you should do.
“But if someone has a problem and feels they need care or advice urgently, then they should absolutely get in touch, preferably by calling first, so we can make sure they get the help they need, as soon as possible.
“With everyone talking about Covid-19, there is a danger that people may feel that their health problem isn’t important enough to get in touch, or that they don’t want to be a burden.
“As a doctor, that is the last thing I would want. I would much rather people get in touch to put their mind at rest that they are ok, instead of knowing that people weren’t coming to me when they were worried.”
On the late May bank holiday, the arrangements for services in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are as follows:
- NHS 111 – the online service (www.111.nhs.uk) and telephone line are both available, 24/7. If you need help or advice and don’t think you can wait, go online, or call. The 111 service supports people struggling with their mental health, as well as physical health.
- Pharmacies – expert advice on medications and minor illnesses. Not all pharmacies are open on bank holidays, but a network of sites will be open. Check opening times on the NHS England website, although always call ahead before travelling, to make sure.
- GP surgeries will not be routinely open, but a team of local primary care staff (including GPs and practice nurses) can be reached via the NHS 111 service. The 111 service will assess a patient’s need, and arrange an appointment (virtually or face-to-face), with the right clinician, as appropriate.
- Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can provide urgent care for minor injuries such as minor burns, sprains and strains and minor head injuries. The services which are open over the bank holiday are listed at the foot of this news release.
- Support is available for people who are vulnerable or shielding, do not have support from families, friends or their local community and who may need urgent assistance with practical issues. Find out more in the helplines available below.
- If you need dental advice, call your usual dental practice if they are open or contact 111 while they are closed, and the team can find the right support for you.
- 999 services and Emergency Departments remain open, 24/7, if you have a serious or life-threatening concern.
If someone believes they have symptoms associated with Covid-19, they should not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital – on the bank holiday, or any other day. Up-to-date advice is on the NHS website www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19, and people who believe they may have the illness should visit the 111 online coronavirus service, or call 111 if unable to access help online.
Dr Holden added: “These are very difficult times – people are anxious, and often isolated, so it is important that everyone knows that the NHS is here to help over the bank holiday, just as it is 365 days a year.”
Additional local service information
Pharmacists are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the pandemic. Please treat staff with respect. They are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
If you have a prescription to collect:
- If you are shielding, aged 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for help with delivery
- Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to ensure they have seen you pick up the bag
- If your medicines are being delivered ensure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.
For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
Mental health support
As well as the support outlined above, local services are also available. If you aren’t sure what to do or who to contact, contact the 111 service online or over the phone.
- Solent Mind continues to adapt services to provide remote support for both new and existing service users. Their website www.solentmind.org.uk contains a Coronavirus resource hub and they also have a helpline open from 10am - 4pm Monday to Friday (including the bank holiday Monday 25 May) – call 023 8017 9049.
- In Southampton, adults in a mental health crisis or emotional distress can text LIGHTHOUSE and their postcode to 07451 276010 between 4.30pm and 12am to access the Lighthouse service. Find out more at https://www.southernhealth.nhs.uk/locations/thelighthouse.
Support is also available from talking therapies services. Although these services may not be available over the phone over the bank holiday, in many areas you can refer yourself online and many services have useful resources and information on their websites:
- Southampton - Steps to Wellbeing
Steps to Wellbeing have developed a Coping with Covid Anxiety Webinar, which patients can access following self-referral to the service and assessment. Useful resources and videos are also available on the Steps to Wellbeing website, including details on how to refer yourself to the service - visit http://www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk or call 0800 612 7000.
Urgent Treatment Centres
Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) and minor injuries units (MIUs) can help with a number of conditions including those below but you are advised to call ahead before attending.
- cuts and grazes
- sprains and strains
- broken bones or fractures
- bites and stings
- infected wounds
- minor head injuries
- minor eye problems.
Southampton – the Royal South Hants Urgent treatment Centre (0333 999 7613), on the site of the Royal South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, is currently only dealing with injuries – not minor illnesses. The service is open 8am - 8pm daily. For an updated list of what it treats, visit https://www.royalsouthhantsutc.nhs.uk
Support for people who are vulnerable
If you need support while you stay at home and are vulnerable or shielding and do not have support from family or friends, there is help available to support you.
- For Southampton, contact the Community Support Hub on 023 8083 4800, 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday including the bank holiday