THE LAST weekend in August is always a bank holiday – but it still catches many of us out when it comes to healthcare. Regular NHS users need to plan – and the rest of us need to be aware how to access healthcare if we need it.
If you have a regular prescription, check whether your medication will see you over the Bank Holiday. If not, order your repeat prescription in good time. Many patients are now using the various online ordering systems – but these do not always work, so allow enough time to ensure you are not stranded on the wrong side of a “computer says no” situation.
Once you have your prescription, make sure you cash it in before the weekend. Sometimes pharmacists will run out of drugs which are frequently prescribed – or which are not prescribed often and which they therefore cannot keep in stock. Don’t leave it till the last minute to take your prescription in case you are left stranded with an IOU.
If you need health services, don’t be put off by the bank holiday. The NHS is still here for you – but local GPs are asking patients to make the right choice over what kind of healthcare they use. Here is what your local GPs advise.
NHS 111. If you or yours have a medical problem which is not life-threatening, try phoning 111. Trained advisors are there to answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week – with experienced clinicians on hand. You can talk over your problem and either accept reassurance or advice on where you should seek further help.
Pharmacy. Your local pharamacist can advise on the best treatment for a huge range of conditions. Most have private rooms or booths in the pharmacy now, so you can talk to them in confidence. To see a comprehensive list of pharmacies in Tower Hamlets, with their Bank Holiday opening hours, go to:
Tower Hamlets Bank Holiday Pharmacies.
GP Out Of Hours Service. GP surgeries do have quite long opening hours these days – but if you need your GP outside these opening hours, call the Tower Hamlets Out of Hours GP Service on 020-7377 7151. A call handler will take your details and a GP will then call you back.
Walk-in services. There are two walk-in units in Tower Hamlets where you can go for urgent but non life-threatening conditions or injuries. No appointment is necessary and the units have GPs who can see to you – without the wait you may encounter at a hospital A&E. The units can deal with cuts, rashes, minor burns, bruises, insect bites or stings and even painful injuries which may involve a broken bone. The units are open from 8am to 8pm at:
The Barkantine walk-in service, 21 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, London E14 8JH, tel. 020-7510 4000
St Andrews Health Centre, 2 Hannaford Walk, London E3 3FF, tel. 020-8980 1888.