Stock up on medications in time for Easter and 'choose well' when accessing healthcare services

Doctors and NHS managers in Stafford and Cannock are urging the public to stock up their medicine cabinets in time for the Easter break.

During public holidays pharmacies and GP surgeries often operate under reduced staff and opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

Dr Johnny McMahon, Chair of Cannock Chase Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Now is a good time to start thinking about ensuring you have everything you need to have a healthy and happy holiday.

"That means making sure you have medication at home to deal with minor injuries and common ailments like coughs, sneezes, colds and upset stomachs," he said. "People with long-term conditions like asthma, heart conditions and diabetes should collect any repeat prescriptions they might need in plenty of time.

Dr Anne-Marie Houlder, Chair of Stafford and Surrounds CCG, said: "The holidays are always a busy period for our county's accident and emergency departments and ambulances services and we would urge people to think twice before attending or calling 999.

"It may be that there is a better option to get you the care you needed faster and more efficiently.

Dr Houlder added: "We would always recommend people make every effort to care for themselves in their own home where they can, but of course, there will be times when people will need to access NHS services and it's important they have the information they need to Choose Well when they do."

By following the 'Choose Well' advice (below) people can also make sure they get the right treatment from the most appropriate NHS service.

  • Self-care means looking after yourself, and is often the best way to treat a minor injury or illness. Some of the main complaints GPs deal with are best managed at home, including colds and flu, indigestion, back pain, coughs that don't persist over time, headaches and migraines and skin complaints such as dermatitis.
  • Your local pharmacy can deal with complaints like diarrhoea, a runny nose, a painful cough or a headache. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professional and can give you advice and medicines to treat yourself when you have a common health problem which does not require attention from a doctor or nurse.
  • Choose your GP if you have been unwell with a persistent cough or a very painful sore throat for a number of days, as this may be a bacterial infection. Other times when your GP is the best port of call are if you are feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious and struggling to cope, if you spot blood in your urine or stools, if you have recurring headaches, a bite that becomes more red, itchy and swollen after a few days, experience problems with memory, are losing weight and are not sure why or if you find a lump under your skin.
  • Where you have a cut, a rash or a strain, you should try to attend an NHS walk-in centre or minor injuries unit where an experienced nurse will be able to give you medical treatment or advice without the need to make an appointment.
  • If you feel unwell or you're unsure about where the best place to go is, call NHS 111 the free, non-emergency advice line. NHS 111 can give you instant advice and access to the urgent healthcare you need and will ensure you get the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. Call handlers on NHS 111 can also make appointments for you with a GP or your local urgent care centre and can even dispatch an ambulance to you where they deem necessary.
  • Where you need immediate emergency care for serious illness or life-threatening situations, for example where you are choking, experiencing chest pain, severe bleeding or blacking out, go to A&E or call 999.