NHS West Essex advice: Be prepared for the bank holidays

WITH three Bank Holiday weekends approaching, NHS West Essex is encouraging people to be aware of the health services available over the Easter and May Bank Holidays - and how best to access them.

GP practices will be open as normal (8am until 6.30pm) except for the Bank Holiday days (including the Royal Wedding day - Friday April 29) and weekends.

Patients needing to contact a GP out of hours and at Bank Holidays should ring their practice, where they will either be redirected or given the number for their out-of-hours provider.

Dentists will be open as normal (except for bank holidays and weekends). Anyone requiring urgent dental treatment out-of-hours should ring the out-of-hours service provider on 0845 070 1612.

Anyone requiring urgent medical attention can attend the Urgent Care Centre on the Princess Alexandra Hospital site, Hamstel Road, Harlow, where they will be assessed and treated and advised as required. This will be open from 8am until 10pm daily.


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Access to emergency contraception is available via the following services: the One Stop Shop in Harlow (for 13 to 24-year-olds - ring 01279 625735 - the Urgent Care Centre on 01279 694775 and via the Asda and Addison pharmacies in Harlow.

The One-Stop Shop at Occasio House, Playhouse Square, Harlow, is open noon until 3.30pm on Saturday April 23 and Saturday April 30 and will operate normal opening hours on Tuesday 26 April (11am-5pm); Wednesday 27 April (11am-6pm) and Thursday April 27 (11am-5pm).

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The One-Stop Shop is closed on all other days between April 22 and May 2 and will reopen as normal on Tuesday May 3.

NHS West Essex director of nursing and quality Jenny Minihane said: “Health services will continue to be provided over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekends but there is plenty people can do to help themselves and avoid the necessity to put potential added pressures on the services during this time.”

• It is a good idea to keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home to help cope with common illnesses, such as colds and flu, coughs, sore throats, indigestion, and headaches.

• Paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen are the most common remedies for pain, fever and headaches. These remedies will also reduce a high temperature.

• Children under 16 should not take aspirin. If you have children, remember to include appropriate medicines for them in your medicine cabinet.

• If you are asthmatic, have ulcers or suffer from indigestion speak to a GP or pharmacist before taking aspirin or ibuprofen.

• It is also worth asking your pharmacist for a rehydration mixture if you have sickness and diarrhoea. You should also stock up on an indigestion remedy, cough medicines, and decongestants for blocked noses.

• Always read the label and patient information before taking medicines and only take the recommended dose. You should always keep all medicines in their original container.

• You should make sure all medicines are in a secure place, out of the reach of small children, and do not use them if they are out of date.

• Do not take over-the-counter medicines for headache relief for more than the recommended few days without talking to a health professional.

• You can ease a blocked nose, stuffiness and a sore throat by breathing in steam from a hot shower, in the bath or from a basin. Make sure you get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous exercise.

• If you do not feel like eating, try soup instead. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids.

• Drinking water helps prevent bladder and bowel problems, and kidney stones. You should try to drink six to eight glasses (about two litres) of water a day.

• Drink more if you feel unwell, are hungover or going on long journeys. Tap water is good for you – and cheaper than bottled water. Swap fizzy drinks for unsweetened fruit juice.

Advice is also available via NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. As usual NHS West Essex has a bank holiday rota for local pharmacies.

Duty pharmacies in Uttlesford opening times are:

GOOD FRIDAY (APRIL 22)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 3-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Boots, Market Place, Saffron Walden, CB10 1HR (10am-4pm)

SATURDAY APRIL 23

All pharmacies usually open on a Saturday and should be open their normal opening hours.

EASTER SUNDAY (APRIL 24)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 2-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Co-operative Pharmacy, 3 The Arches, Hill Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1ED (11am-noon)

EASTER MONDAY (APRIL 25)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 3-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Boots, Market Place, Saffron Walden, CB10 1HR (11am-noon)

ROYAL WEDDING DAY (FRIDAY APRIL 29)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 3-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Co-operative Pharmacy, 3 The Arches, Hill Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1ED (11am-noon)

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY (MAY 2)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 3-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Boots, Market Place, Saffron Walden, CB10 1HR (11am-noon)

BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY (MAY 30)

• Ropers Pharmacy, 3-5 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AB (11am-noon)

• Co-operative Pharmacy, 3 The Arches, Hill Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1ED (11am-noon)

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