Doctors in west Kent are encouraging people to be Easter ready by stocking up medicine cabinets and ordering repeat prescriptions in plenty of time as the start of the school holidays approach.
They are also reminding anyone who is going away on holiday to make sure they take their medication with them.
Dr Bob Bowes, chair of NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Why not take time now to restock your medicine cabinet with essentials such as paracetamol, plasters and children’s medicine to avoid an urgent trip out over the Easter bank holiday weekend?
“If you need prescribed medication, make sure you have enough especially if you are going away.
“GP practices in west Kent are offering additional appointments over the whole of the Easter weekend starting with the evening of Thursday 18 April through to Easter Monday. These appointments will not necessarily be at your usual GP practice, but the health professionals treating you will be able to see your full medical record, with your consent.”
Patients who need an appointment will be allocated the most suitable clinician for their need and should contact their normal GP practice before Good Friday to book one of these appointments. These additional appointments are available during the rest of the year every weekday evening until 8pm and on both Saturdays and Sundays, including bank holidays.
Dr Bowes added: “There are local pharmacies open on Good Friday, Saturday as usual, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. Use the NHS website, www.nhs.uk, to find the opening times of your nearest pharmacy and other local services over the Easter period.
“Pharmacists can offer help and advice on many illnesses, such as colds and fevers, which can be treated at home without the need to see a doctor.
“If you urgently need medical care when your GP practice is closed, and the pharmacy can’t help, please ring NHS 111 for advice. They can arrange for you to see an out-of-hours GP if necessary.”
Around 95 per cent of people live within a 20 minute walk of a local community pharmacy, making pharmacists easily accessible and a valuable first port of call for minor health concerns such as coughs, colds, tummy troubles or teething.
Additionally, in west Kent, many pharmacies are part of the Common Ailments Scheme, which offers not just expert advice but also free medication for certain illnesses to people who don’t usually pay for their prescriptions. Look out for the Common Ailments Scheme posters.
Minor injury units
The minor injury units (MIUs) in Edenbridge and Sevenoaks can see a range of minor illnesses and injuries such as burns, sprains, cuts and foreign bodies in the eye, nose and ear. Both units have X-ray facilities.
- Edenbridge and District War Memorial Hospital, Mill Hill, Edenbridge, TN8 5DA
- 8.30am to 6.30pm, 7 days a week, with X-ray available Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm.
- Sevenoaks Hospital, Hospital Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3PG
- 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week with X-ray available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except bank holidays.
- The Dementia Helpline is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- Kent Mental Health Matters support line (08001 070160) is open all hours.
Samaritans provides confidential support for anyone feeling down, depressed or anxious, as well as those who may be feeling despair. Volunteers can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123 (UK), or email email@example.com or face-to-face; visit www.samaritans.org for details of your local branch.
If you need urgent medical help but it is not a 999 emergency, call the free NHS 111 phone service.