Residents in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to think early about repeat prescriptions and opening hours for GP practices and community pharmacies as the May bank holiday approaches.

Choosing Well when you need health advice or support - by using NHS Direct or visiting your pharmacy - can have a hugely positive impact on busy Emergency Departments during peak holiday periods.

Mr Jeremy Williams, A&E consultant and clinical lead for unscheduled care said: “The best way the public can help our frontline staff, and ensure that they and their families can be seen quickly, is to use other health services and reserve our Emergency Departments for serious or life threatening situations. Ultimately this helps us to save lives.”

The Choose Well guidance can also help people choose the right health service to best meet their individual needs – and to ensure emergency services are there for when we need them most.

For example, did you know your local Pharmacist can give you free, confidential advice, support and treatment on a range common ailments and any emergency medicine you may need without booking an appointment?

Some community pharmacies also now offer a Triage and Treat service to help you if you have had a low level injury and will save you a visit to a doctor or a hospital accident and emergency department.

The types of injuries that can be treated in the pharmacy under this service without an appointment are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, sprains and strains, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns.

GPs advise that you get repeat prescriptions in as early as possible to avoid any delay.

Dr Llinos Roberts, GP at Tumble surgery, said: “Emergency services are available throughout the Bank Holiday but please help those in need of emergency care by making sure you have your routine medication in stock and only attend Emergency Departments or Out of Hours GP is you cannot wait until after the holidays.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “It is important to be prepared and organised with your medications at all times but particularly approaching a Bank Holiday.

"However should you require advice for health concerns during this period, a range of services including your local Pharmacist, and a round-the-clock GP out of hours service will be available if you have an urgent problem when your surgery is closed.”

If you are unwell and need to contact a GP out of hours, you should contact your usual GP phone number and will be automatically transferred to the out-of-hours service.

If you don’t know where to go or what service you need, you can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 (or dial 111 if you are a patient in Carmarthenshire).

If you need any urgent dental care over this period you can contact your dental practice to access advice and care. If you do not have access to a dental practice, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 (or dial 111 if you are a patient in Carmarthenshire) where an appointment can be arranged for you if required.

In an emergency, life threatening situation, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. If you need treatment that cannot wait but is not an emergency and you don’t know where to go, contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 (or dial 111 if you are a patient in Carmarthenshire).