Health bosses in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are urging people to only think one-one-one-ce if taken ill over the Easter weekend.
GP practices will be closed for Good Friday on April 6th and Easter Monday, April 9th, and pharmacies will be on a limited rota.
While the practices are closed, patients are reminded they can now call NHS 111 free from their landline or mobiles.
NHS 111 is a service currently being piloted throughout Lancashire (excluding West Lancashire). It is designed to create a single point of access for patients who need urgent medical advice but it is not a life-threatening situation.
NHS 111 operatives will carry out an initial assessment of the symptoms which will help ascertain the level and urgency of treatment needed. They will then signpost patients to the relevant service or deploy an ambulance where appropriate
Charles Thomson, consultant in emergency medicine of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, said: “When there are long weekends, people have a tendency turn up at the Emergency Department or Urgent Care centres when they could have waited to see their GP or received advice from their pharmacist. Now they can phone 111 and receive advice on the best course of action for them which will prevent unnecessary trips to hospital, reducing waiting times and freeing up emergency services for those most in need.”
Dr David White, GP lead for Burnley for the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would also like to remind patients who receive repeat prescriptions, to contact their GP practice and order their medication in good time to ensure they don’t run out over the long bank holiday weekend.”
To find out which of your local pharmacies will be open over Easter, visit www.eastlancspct.nhs.uk/patients/feeling-unwell