Plan ahead is the message the NHS is sharing with residents across Swindon in the run up to the late summer bank holiday.

With many pharmacies, GP practices and other healthcare services in the town closing for three days from Friday 24 August, people are being urged to have their bank holiday healthcare plan sorted ahead of the long weekend.

Patients nearing the end of their current supply of prescribed medicine should aim to get their prescriptions in well in advance of the three-day break to ensure a quick turnaround, while others are encouraged to just be aware of what services will be open and when on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The Urgent Care Centre at the Great Western Hospital, along with the walk-in centre at the Swindon NHS Health Centre in Islington Street, will be open as normal throughout the weekend, between 7am and 10pm and 8am and 6pm respectively.

Both centres can provide care and treatment without an appointment for injuries and illnesses that need timely medical attention, such as sprains, strains, upset stomachs and insect bites, but are not serious enough to justify a visit to the Emergency Department.

Formally known as Accident and Emergency, the Emergency Department at GWH is open 24 hours a day but should only be considered when a person’s condition poses a genuine threat to life, such as severe bleeding, chest pain, badly broken bones and loss of consciousness.

NHS111 – the 24 hour phoneline that connects patients with a trained adviser in just a matter of seconds – will also be available throughout the weekend and can be called free from any mobile or landline.

And while most Swindon pharmacies will close on Monday 27 August, a small number will be open for business and providing patients with access to prescription and over-the-counter medicine as well as help and advice for minor ailments.

Among the pharmacies open on Bank Holiday Monday are the branches inside Swindon’s two Asda supermarkets, Boots in the town centre and at the Orbital Shopping Park and the in-store pharmacies at Morrisons in North Swindon and the Oxford Road Sainsbury’s.

A full list of the pharmacies open during the bank holiday can be found by clicking here.