Somerset’s health services are ready to meet Easter Bank Holiday demand - 24 March 2015

Somerset’s health services are ready to meet Easter Bank Holiday demand - 24 March 2015

Help yourself and the NHS.  Stop and think “Do I need to go to a hospital Accident and Emergency Department or telephone 999 for an ambulance?”

Somerset’s GPs, pharmacists, 111 helpline staff, Minor Injury Unit’s Emergency Nurse Practitioners, district hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) doctors and 999 ambulance paramedics are reminding the public to help themselves and the NHS over next month’s  April Bank Holiday weekend and be sure to choose the right health service for their level of illness or injury. Pharmacist 1 LOW

Health and social care services across Somerset and the South West have just experienced one of the busiest winters on record treating patients with threatening injuries and admitting many more frail elderly patients into hospital.   And yet a staggering one in five patients* will still come to a district hospital A&E with only minor ailments that could be been treated themselves or with advice from their local pharmacist.

Musgrove Park Hospital’s, Medical Director, Dr Colin Close, said: “As the Easter bank holidays approach, it is important to remind our local community to only use their emergency department (A&E) if they are seriously unwell or critically injured. This allows us to treat the very sick people who need our care the most. With the right advice and information, many minor ailments can be treated effectively at home or by seeking advice from your local pharmacist, who can offer guidance on over the counter medication. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and telephone your GP surgery if your symptoms fail to improve after a couple of days. ”

Adrian South, Deputy Clinical Director with the South Western Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust says:  “It's time to call 999 for an ambulance if someone’s life may be in danger. This might be a condition like severe chest pain, shortness of breath, unconsciousness or following a serious road traffic collision or injury with uncontrollable bleeding.

“Every time an ambulance is sent to a call which is not an emergency, it may delay our response to patients who are severely ill or injured; those cases where every second counts. If you need quick advice, but it’s not an emergency telephone the free, 24 hour NHS 111 helpline.”

If you become ill or injured over the April Bank Holiday period (From Friday 3 April to Monday 6 April) here are your options:  


Having a few basic items in your bathroom medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill.  Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets.  If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP.   

There is more advice online at:


If you feeling unwell and need advice visit your pharmacy. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at:  or by telephoning 111.


Telephone 111 when you need medical advice or information quickly, but it’s not a 999 life threatening emergency.  Calls are free from mobiles and landlines to this 24/7 service. 

You should also call 111 if you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent advice or medical help.  You will be assessed, given advice and directed straight away to the local service that will help you best.


If you have a persistent health problem that is not going away make an appointment to see your GP.  There are 75 GP surgeries across the county providing a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.

Should you become ill after your GP surgery has closed ring your surgery’s telephone number and listen to the answer phone message or telephone 111 for advice. 

Remember to re-order any prescriptions you need a week before the Bank Holiday. 


Located on the top floor of Boots in Middle Street the centre is open every day of the year and from 8am until 8pm.  Yeovil Health Centre also provides emergency contraception and sexual health advice and treatment.

Normal GP and nurse care is available as well as quick and convenient health checks including blood pressure and cholesterol. No appointment is necessary; walk in for prompt attention. Telephone 01935 709 269


There are Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Chard, Frome, Glastonbury, Minehead and Shepton Mallet. 

If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) rather than a busy hospital A&E department. By doing so you allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious and life-threatening conditions and save yourself a potentially long wait.

To check your local MIU’s location and opening hours telephone 111 or go to:


Only use hospital A&E or the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or have become unconscious telephone 999 immediately.  

For further information on how to protect yourself and your family this Easter please visit

If any member of the public believes themselves, or a friend or relative, is experiencing a life threatening medical emergency then they should always telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance.