PEOPLE in the South West are being encouraged to plan ahead for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend to reduce pressure on the NHS during the next round of industrial action.

Taking a few simple steps can now help to ensure that individuals are less likely to require assistance from the NHS over the weekend. These steps include ensuring that they have an adequate supply of their regularly prescribed medication, confirming which local pharmacies will be open over the weekend, and having a well stocked first aid kit on hand.

The NHS typically experiences a surge in demand over the Bank Holidays, as individuals take advantage of the extended weekend to engage in outdoor activities or tackle household projects that have been postponed throughout the winter, leading to accidents and injuries. However due to the upcoming nurse strike from 8pm on Sunday, April 30 until 8pm on Tuesday, May 2 the NHS in the South West anticipates difficulties in providing timely care to all those in need.

NHS South West Regional Chief Nurse, Sue Doheny said: “We know that we see an increase in people who need our help over and immediately after a Bank Holiday weekend, which is why we are asking people to take a few simple steps now to minimise your need for NHS help this weekend.

 “Having enough of your prescribed medicines, having a well-stocked first aid kit, and even knowing which local pharmacy will be open and when will help you manage day-to-day and minor health issues.  

 “And if you have done all those things and still need non-life-threatening help then 111 online ( can provide urgent health advice and direct you to the most appropriate NHS service for your condition.”

 Every Bank Holiday the NHS 111 phone service sees many more people using the service where they’ve left it too late to order their repeat prescriptions. Calls to 111 relating to repeat prescriptions account for about 3% of all demand. This doubles during the bank holiday period and are all calls that could be avoided if people ensured they had prepared for the long weekend in advance.

Top tips to help the NHS this Bank Holiday:

 If you ill or injured, and it is not life-threatening, but are unsure of which NHS service to use can help you with:

  • where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
  • how to find general health information and advice
  • getting help with an existing medical condition
  • how to get mental health help
  • where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • getting emergency dental appointments

You should still ring 999 if you experience:

  • signs of a heart attack like pain like a heavy weight in the centre of your chest
  • signs of stroke such as your face dropping on one side
  • difficulty breathing
  • heavy bleeding that won’t stop
  • seizures
  • or sudden and rapid swelling of the eyes, lips, throat or tongue.