People living in Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset are being urged to get ready for the approaching Easter holidays in order to help demand on health services across the region. 

As GP surgeries prepare for the break, health and care leaders are asking people to check they have the essential medication needed to see them through the holiday period and to make sure they know where to go for advice and treatment. 

They are also being advised that pharmacists will be equipped to advise on over-the-counter medicines and treatments for most non-urgent and minor conditions. 

Bank holidays can be an extremely busy time for the NHS and local people are being asked to use services wisely so that accident and emergency departments, as well as ambulance services, are available for those who need them most. 

Although most GP surgeries will be closed on Good Friday (19 April) and Easter Monday (22 April), pre-booked appointments will be available at some practices and walk-in centres. 

Some urgent treatment centres - including the Urgent Care Centre at the Great Western Hospital - will also be open. 

Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and Chair of the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Board, said: "Everybody wants to enjoy the Easter holidays, so it's a good idea to do as much as possible to prepare from them in advance, particularly when it comes to staying well. 

"We don't want people to run out of their medication, become poorly and then miss out on an enjoyable break, so do make sure you have enough repeat medicine to last over the long weekend. 

"If you are unlucky enough to be ill, remember you can phone NHS 111, which is the freephone number to call when GP surgeries are closed and you need urgent medical advice." 

Other things people across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire can do to stay healthy and prepare for the Easter break include: 

  • Make sure medicine cabinets are well-stocked with essentials, such as plasters, paracetamol, anti-diarrhoea medicine and indigestion remedies
  • Remember that pharmacists are equipped to give advice on over-the-counter medicines and treatment. Click here to find information on pharmacies open in Swindon over the long weekend
  • Parents can access expert advice about common childhood illnesses and how to treat them via the HANDi App, a free-to-use mobile app that can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device