PATIENTS are being urged to deal with any health problems before they become urgent and before GP surgeries close for the Easter holidays.

They are also being advised to check they have sufficient prescription medicines to see them through the Easter period but not forgetting the ongoing campaign of Your Medicines, Your Health which warns the public about stockpiling their medicine cabinet.  Martin Davies, chief pharmacist for the Rhondda, in Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “We know that there are many people who don’t take the medicines which have been prescribed for them for a number of reasons and, because they don’t want to tell their doctor, they often end up keeping these at home.

“But stockpiling medicines at home can be dangerous – to them and to other people who live in the home. We want people to take their medicines if they can and to tell us if they can’t.

“It’s also never a good idea to keep prescription medicines like antibiotics for the future, just in case.”

GP practices will be open as usual on Thursday 13th April and closed Friday 14th April through to Monday 17th April.  They will re-open as normal on Tuesday 18th April. Patients are advised to check they have sufficient prescription medicines for the four-day holiday and to deal with any routine medical problems before the GP practices close for the Easter break.

The Cwm Taf GP out-of-hours service will be operational from 6.30pm on Thursday 13th April until 8.00am on Tuesday 18th April but the service is designed to deal with patients with urgent medical conditions only.

Urgent medical conditions are those which cannot wait to be dealt with until the patient’s own GP surgery re-opens.

Dr Sanjeet Rao, Clinical Lead for the Cwm Taf University Health Board GP out-of-hours service, said: “Please make sure that routine problems or problems that may become urgent are dealt with by your own GP, if possible before the bank holiday.

“Visiting your own GP will be safer and better for you as your GP has access to your full health records and is supported by the GP practice staff. Also, your own GP can, if needed, arrange blood tests, X rays and referral to a hospital specialist.

“This also means the out-of-hours service will not have to deal with routine GP work and can concentrate on helping those patients who may have more urgent health problems.”

Patients who contact the Cwm Taf GP out of hours service may be given advice about self-care over the phone or they may be given an appointment for a face-to-face consultation at a primary care centre.

Those patients who are terminally ill or elderly patients who are seriously unwell will be seen at home.

Dr Rao added: “The Cwm Taf GP out-of-hours service provides medical advice and treatment for urgent healthcare problems only – this means advice and treatment for problems which the patient, or their carer, feels can’t safely wait until their own GP practice is next open.

Dr Rao also added: “And please remember, you can get advice and treatment for many minor illnesses from your local pharmacy.”

If you are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms please do not go to A&E. The Cwm Taf website contains advice about how to recognise and manage symptoms. For more advice contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

Advice to help you stay well over the Easter period:

Repeat prescriptions – Help your GP to spend time on more serious cases by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance of the bank holiday.

Ask your pharmacist – local community pharmacists can provide advice and treatment for many minor or self-limiting conditions along with advice about any ongoing medication.

NHS Direct Wales – If you need information and advice about health, illness and health services (including phone numbers and opening times) to enable you to make decisions about your healthcare and that of your family, contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

Don’t let your health problems ruin your Easter holidays
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