People living in Surrey Heartlands are being urged to play their part in helping the NHS and social care teams manage what’s expected to be a busy early May bank holiday weekend.

The call comes as the system continues to see a high demand for care across primary, community, social care, hospital, NHS 111 and ambulance services. With higher levels of staff sickness due to Covid, the partnership wants to make sure people know how to access help and support if they need it over the bank holiday weekend – and how they can help – by choosing the right service.

There are a range of services available to anyone who needs help including:

  • Pharmacists, who are experts in medicines, can help you and your family with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. Details of pharmacies in Surrey Heartlands open over the early May Bank Holiday weekend can be found here.
  • GP services – Over the bank holiday weekend some practices will be offering pre-booked appointments and there will also be GP appointments available through NHS 111. People can also visit their GP practice website for a range of online services (including repeat prescription requests, other online requests and to book a routine appointment) and if people urgently need repeat prescriptions they are being encouraged to plan ahead and collect these before we go into the bank holiday weekend.
  • NHS 111 – If you, or your family, need urgent health advice but it’s not an emergency, you can get help at NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) or by calling 111 24 hours a day. NHS 111 can provide advice over the phone and link you in with local services – including GP services, walk-in centres and other local services – to help you get the care you need in the right place.
  • Emergency Department – (also known as A&E) is only for medical emergencies and life-threatening conditions.
  • Mental Health – It’s really important that you seek support as soon as possible. There are a number of Surrey services which can offer emotional wellbeing and mental health support, visit Healthy Surreyfor more information. Mindworks Surrey is the emotional wellbeing and mental health service for children and young people in Surrey.

Professor Andrew Rhodes, Joint Chief Medical Officer for Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, said:

“Local health and care services remain incredibly busy – partly due to the high demand for care we are continuing to see but also due to increased staff sickness as a result of Covid.

“As a system, when we are very busy, we need to prioritise people who are critically ill and urgently need our help so as we go into the bank holiday weekend, we want to make sure people know how to access help if they need it, and encourage people to help local services by using the right service – keeping Emergency Departments for life-threatening medical emergencies only.”

This weekend there are a range of services available that can offer advice and support and help people get treatment if they need it. There will be pharmacies open in Surrey Heartlands over the bank holiday and other services such as walk-in centres can also help with urgent conditions.

“If you’re not sure where to go, or which service to choose, NHS 111 by phone or online can put you in touch with the service you need, including arranging out of hours GP appointments and referring you to a walk-in centre or ED if needed – to help you get the care you need” Andrew added.

We know Covid-19 is still circulating and our vaccination programme continues to offer vaccines to anyone who is eligible, including all 5–11-year-olds and people who are eligible for the Spring booster. First and second doses and boosters are also available.  

Covid-19 vaccination services will continue to run over the early May Bank Holiday weekend – for details of local service and to book an appointment please visit national booking system or call 119. Walk-in clinic details are available.