NHS teams are asking people to #DoYourBit by staying safe while still enjoying the Jubilee bank holiday celebrations.
With NHS services across the North East and North Cumbria expecting another busy period over the extended June bank holiday, people are being urged to enjoy themselves safely.
Dr Neil O’Brien, executive medical director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board said: “With the whole country getting ready to celebrate another long weekend, we want people to have a memorable time but most of all a safe time.
“I’m sure there will be lots of parties happening across the region and the occasion will be marked by people getting together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
“However avoidable incidents, often linked to excess drinking, put a major strain on all NHS services and we need to make sure that our A&E departments and 999 services are kept free to look after those who really do need emergency attention.
“We want everyone to have a good time, so please stay safe, enjoy the celebrations and remember to limit your drinking – you don’t want to spend valuable holiday time in hospital or feeling dreadful because you’ve over done it”.
Dr Dave Bramley, clinical director of urgent and emergency care for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, echoed Dr O’Brien’s comments.
“Our Emergency Department teams are facing huge pressure at the moment and we know that will increase as we head into the school holidays and then the Jubilee weekend,” he said.
“Our first priority is to treat those with the most serious, life-threatening conditions in our departments and it’s likely if you are not one of those people, you will face a lengthy wait to be seen.
“NHS staff across the region have worked tirelessly under unrelenting conditions because of the pandemic, please do you bit to support us and ensure you take care of yourself this holiday weekend, because while we want everyone to have an enjoyable time, we often see a lot of injuries and illnesses linked to alcohol.
“If you do suffer a minor injury or illness, the 111 service online and on the phone is a great place to see advice and can help you reach the right place for your care.
“Our community pharmacists are also excellent at giving a lot of advice about self-care and medications they can offer you to treat your condition at home.
“As ever, our emergency departments are here to help, but they are those for the most in need – please think about whether it’s the right place before you head through our doors and that will make a real difference in helping support our NHS through this busy weekend.”
Sue Taylor, head of alcohol policy, Balance, urged people to celebrate the jubilee while remembering to be sensitive to the needs of others.
“This is a time when neighbours and families will be getting together and hopefully having a great time, but we would urge people to be sensitive to the fact that alcohol is not at the centre of everyone’s celebration,” she said.
“Many people in our region are struggling with alcohol addiction or have had issues in the past.
“For them being surrounded by alcohol makes life difficult and because people often hide addiction, we don’t always know who in our friendship group or wider family has been affected.
“Others choose not to drink alcohol for a variety of reasons, including religious or cultural considerations – and might feel uncomfortable when alcohol is flowing.
“The jubilee is a fantastic opportunity for bringing people together – particularly after the hardships of the pandemic – and we would encourage everyone to celebrate in an inclusive and sensitive way.”
People are also being reminded not to get caught out by the extended bank holiday by ordering any urgent repeat prescriptions well in advance and ensuring they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
“It’s important to have enough repeat medicine to last over the holidays -remember your GP practice will be closed from Thursday June 2 until Monday June 6 and it takes 48 hours for most surgeries to process a repeat prescription”, added Dr O’Brien.
“If you do need emergency medication you can go to any local community pharmacy, open over the bank holiday weekend, https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy or contact NHS 111 online who will be able to assist.
“If people are unwell then it is vital that they seek medical help if they need it, but please think carefully about which service you choose. A&E departments and 999 are only there to treat the most serious and life-threatening conditions so please think about whether your local pharmacy or 111 online can help.
“One of the best things you can do is to keep some basic medicines at home, so you have them available if any unexpected minor illness or injury occurs.
“I’d encourage everyone to have some essentials to hand including paracetamol for adults and children, plasters, indigestion remedy and anti-diarrhoeal medicine – but you can also ask your local pharmacist for more advice on what medicines you should keep at home”.
Top tips for the Jubilee bank holiday include:
· Be prepared for common health problems by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home and making sure that you have enough prescription medication to last over the bank holiday weekend
· If you are visiting a healthcare settings, please remember to wear a face covering and use available handwashing and alcohol gel facilities. · Health advice and information is available via the NHS App or the NHS website ,or from your local GP practice website which links to a range of online services and, in most cases, you can order repeat prescriptions online.
· For children’s health advice you can download The Little Orange Book, which covers a wide range of illnesses in children from common minor ailments including teething, constipation and colds, through to more serious conditions download here.
· If you require emergency care, you should call 999, or go to your nearest A&E. You should ONLY go to A&E if you or someone else has a life-threatening emergency, such as:
· loss of consciousness
· acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
· chest pain
· breathing difficulties
· severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
· severe allergic reactions
· severe burns or scalds
· major trauma such as a road traffic accident
· If you are concerned about how much you, or someone you know, drinks, there’s lots of help out there. You can speak to your GP, find your local alcohol support service or contact:
Drinkline Freephone: 0300 123 1110 Alcoholics Anonymous: 0845 769 7555