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UHP and South West NHS prepares for Easter visitor demand ahead of strikes

Simon Horne Headshot

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP) and the wider South West NHS are preparing for an increase in demand for healthcare services over the Easter bank holiday weekend. 

Easter marks the start of holiday season for the South West, which will see an estimated 16 million visitors to the region, increasing demand on healthcare services.

The bank holiday weekend will be immediately followed by a four-day nationwide strike by junior doctors. Therefore, it is important that tourists and local people are choosing well and making the best use of health services. Urgent and emergency care will be available for those who need it, but please choose the right service for your needs.

Over the Easter weekend and throughout the strike action please:

  • Make sure you have ordered and collected any repeat medicines, especially if you are travelling or staying away from home
  • Always call 999 in emergency or life-threatening cases, such as when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk
  • Visit NHS 111 online or call 111 for medical help and advice on the best treatment pathway for your condition
  • On strike days take advice from 111/999 call-handlers on whether there are circumstances where it is suitable to make your own way to hospital
  • Look after yourself and loved ones, checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours
  • Make sure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked
  • Make use of community pharmacies who can provide advice and medications for minor illnesses. Details of which pharmacies are open over the Easter bank holiday weekend can be found via the interactive map here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours/

Those visiting Plymouth and the wider South West region are reminded that their first port of call for GP care is their home practice, which will be able to provide online, phone and video consultations as well as arranging for prescriptions to be sent to any pharmacy you choose.

Simon Horne HeadshotDr Si Horne, Deputy Medical Director at UHP, said: “At University Hospitals Plymouth we are expecting a busy bank holiday weekend and are asking the public to please choose the most appropriate service to help us to help them in an emergency.

“Over the Easter break urgent and emergency care will be there for you, but please choose the right service for your needs. Please only dial 999 in an emergency and use NHS 111 for non-life-threatening care, as well as local pharmacies or general practice.

“Please note that the bank holiday weekend will be immediately followed by what is expected to be the biggest industrial action in NHS history. During the strike, we will prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, critical care, maternity, neonatal care and trauma.

“We cannot underestimate the impact this industrial action will potentially have on our patients however, anyone with an appointment should continue to attend as planed, unless they’ve been contacted to rearrange.”

Further information:

  • For more information on when to call 999 and when to go to A&E, you can visit the NHS UK website.
  • GP practices will continue to be open during the junior doctors’ strike. Please continue to attend your GP and dental appointments, unless you are contacted and told otherwise.
  • Anyone with hospital appointments, tests and operations during the strike should attend unless they are contacted by staff to arrange another date.
  • Junior doctors make up around half of all doctors in the NHS. They are qualified doctors who have anywhere up to eight years’ experience working as a hospital doctor, depending on their specialty, or up to three years in general practice. So, these are people who make a material contribution to patient safety on a day to day basis.


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