This Easter, Buckinghamshire’s health and care services will be working hard to make sure you stay safe and well – and you can help them by making sure you are prepared for the bank holiday weekend and by using the right service at the right time.
With COVID-19 still spreading and causing disruption to health and care services, we are providing information on where you will you get the most appropriate care should you need help this weekend.
If you are not sure what health service option to use, and it is not an emergency, go to 111.nhs.uk for advice and support. Due to high levels of demand, the 111 telephone service is currently extremely busy and is expected to remain so over the weekend. Please use the online option where possible.
Please also make sure you have all the medicines you may require ahead of the Easter break. Whether it is everyday medication like paracetamol or cough remedies, or getting your prescription filled. It is also worth making sure you have any other items you might need in hand – for instance, plasters, other treatments or contraceptives.
If you do need to access a pharmacy this weekend, please be aware that many will be operating reduced hours. Local pharmacy details can be found via the NHS ‘Find a pharmacy’ service or on the Buckinghamshire CCG website.
If it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, please do not delay – call 999 or go to A&E if you can safely do so.
People in Buckinghamshire are also being urged to support their loved ones to leave hospital and come home in time for Easter if they can. Some patients no longer need hospital medical care but cannot return to their own home to continue their recovery without having some additional support for things like washing, dressing, shopping, cooking and cleaning. Not having this support delays their return home and leads to a shortage of beds for those in urgent need of hospital treatment. By supporting them you will be helping both your loved one and anyone else in need of emergency care.
Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “By making sure you use the right service at the right time you will help to ease pressure on your health services to make sure the people who need treatment most urgently get it sooner. It may also help you to avoid needless waiting times or travelling to use a service that may not the right one. So, please choose your services well this Easter. By working together, we can help to keep each other safe and well.”
Karen Bonner, Chief Nurse for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said, “No one wants to spend longer in hospital than they need to and once people are over their initial medical emergency we know that our patients recover faster if they are in their own homes in a more comfortable and familiar setting. If you have a relative or loved one in hospital who is well enough to go home, but is waiting to be discharged with home care and community health support, you may be able to help them to get home more quickly. If you and your family are in a position to support a loved one at home over the Easter break please speak to the ward manager or nurse in charge if this is something you can help with.”
The health and care options available in Bucks include:
- A&E – remember, A&E should be used for serious and life-threatening conditions. If it is not an emergency, or you are not sure, please check with the NHS 111 service first. But if it is, don’t delay – call 999.
- The 111 online service at 111.nhs.uk is a great source of information and advice, especially if you are not sure which service to use for your illness or injury.
- The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) in High Wycombe is accessible from 8am – 8pm via 111.
- Pharmacies are staffed by healthcare professionals and offer excellent advice. At the first sign of illness, check to see if an over-the-counter treatment or medicine is suitable. Don’t wait until you are really unwell.
- Contact your GP surgery for an appointment – this will probably be over the telephone or remotely at the moment, but your GP can still invite you for a face-to-face appointment when they think it is medically appropriate. And if you are concerned about possible cancer symptoms, don’t delay – contact your GP today.
- Self-care – many minor injuries or ailments can be treated at home, with medicines or treatments you may already have. Make sure you keep some of these in stock.