DOCTORS are urging people to remember that NHS services are still available over the bank holiday weekend, whatever their need.

Although Covid-19 is still a major priority for health services everywhere, the NHS across Hampshire is geared up to offer whatever support people may require.

Skilled staff will be available if anyone needs urgent help or advice regarding an injury or illness or has concerns over their emotional and mental health.

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Dr Andrew Holden, 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.

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"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 bank holiday itself the arrangements for services in Hampshire 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 at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search 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.

• Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) and Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) 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.”