With three bank holidays in May, people in the Black Country are being encouraged to plan ahead and order any repeat prescriptions they may need.
GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours over the bank holiday weekends, making it more challenging for patients to access medicines at short notice.
Every bank holiday, NHS 111 sees an increase in people contacting it about repeat prescriptions. Over the recent Easter bank holiday weekend, a quarter of all 111 online sessions in the Midlands were to do with repeat prescriptions.
To avoid this and to ensure health is not put at any unnecessary risk, people are being asked to submit any repeat prescriptions that are due for renewal in advance of the bank holiday weekends, the first of which takes place on Monday 1 May.
Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “With three bank holidays in May, it’s never been more important for people to order any repeat prescriptions they may need.
“As GP practices are closed on bank holidays, it is important to make sure prescriptions are filled beforehand. Those who depend on daily medication could find themselves becoming very poorly if their supply runs out over a long weekend.
“It can take up for five days for repeat prescription orders to be processed, so plan ahead now and make sure you’re not caught short.
“The easiest way to order repeat prescriptions is by using GP online services, via the NHS App or through your GP practice website. If you do not have access to GP online services, you can phone your GP practice to order prescriptions.”
If people feel unwell over the bank holiday weekend, but it’s not life threatening, they can check their symptoms and access advice by using the NHS 111 service online or by calling NHS 111.
NHS 111 can help direct people to the most appropriate local health service if they aren’t sure where to go – this could include an out of hours GP, a pharmacy, a local NHS walk-in centre, or a hospital accident & emergency (A&E) department.
A number of local pharmacies will remain open over the bank holiday weekend and should be the first port of call for any minor illnesses. To find your nearest pharmacy, including opening times, visit the NHS website here.