Practices will be closed on Good Friday (2 April) and Easter Monday (5 April). Any services usually offered on a Saturday will operate as usual. Those who take regular prescription medicines are advised to think ahead and make sure they have adequate supply before the bank holiday weekend, allowing around 48 hours for GP practices to process any requests. Many GP practices are now operating in a different way due to Covid-19 so patients may need to get in touch via phone or online in the first instance, rather than visiting the practice in person.
The NHS website provides information and advice on how to deal with a wide range of illnesses and injuries at home. Local community pharmacies can also help with a range of minor health concerns. As qualified professionals, pharmacists are experts in medicines and can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as cough, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. People can also speak to a pharmacist in confidence, in a private area. Many pharmacies will be open on Good Friday, Easter Monday, Easter Sunday and late at night – right across Greater Manchester. The full list of opening hours for all boroughs can be found here . Saturday 3 April is a normal working day so a pharmacy’s usual opening hours will apply.
Some pharmacies provide a delivery service for residents who have no support. Anyone who relies on a service of this kind is advised to confirm with their local pharmacy when they will be operating over the bank holiday period. Other residents are encouraged to reduce the demand and pressure on local delivery services if they are feeling unwell and self-isolating by asking friends, relatives or neighbours to collect their medicines in the first instance.
Dental practices will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday. If someone is in pain and requires urgent dental care, they should call the Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service on 0333 332 3800 (freephone). This service is available for anyone with a dental emergency – including those who are not registered with a dentist.
Anyone who is unwell and isn’t sure where to go or what to do can contact NHS 111. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is there to make it quicker and easier for people to get the advice or treatment they need. NHS 111 can be contacted online at 111.nhs.uk (only for those aged five and over) or by dialling 111 free from a landline or mobile phone. Depending on the nature of the problem, someone contacting NHS 111 may:
- Be given self-care advice on how to take look after themselves at home
- Told how to get any medicine they may need
- Be directed to a local service that can help
- Speak to a GP, nurse, pharmacist or emergency dentist over the phone
- Be booked in for a face to face appointment
- Be given an arrival time if they need to attend the emergency department (A&E) in a hospital
Those who feel that their health problem or concern is urgent should contact NHS 111 first before heading to an emergency department (ED). This helps to make sure that people receive the right care in the right place and could avoid a wasted journey. Booking a time slot before arrival means spending less time in a waiting room too, helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Anyone who arrives at an ED without a booked time slot, when it is not a life-threatening emergency, may be referred elsewhere for treatment or helped to use NHS 111.
A life-threatening medical emergency is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. An ambulance should be called by dialling 999. Symptoms could include loss of consciousness, fits that are not stopping, severe bleeding that won’t stop, breathing difficulties, chest pain or a severe allergic reaction. If someone is having a heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.
Anyone who has symptoms of Covid-19 (a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, a change/loss of taste or smell) should book a test straight away at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. They will need to self-isolate along with other members of their household – for 10 days, if the test is positive. People with Covid-19 should not go to a GP practice, pharmacy or ED. Anyone who feels that they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, whose condition gets worse, or if symptoms do not improve after seven days should use the NHS 111 Covid-19 service or call 111.
Other sources of help and support
Community hubs have been set up in all Greater Manchester boroughs to provide support for the most vulnerable. They coordinate support for those who do not have any other way of sourcing food and medical supplies. The phone numbers for all the hubs are available on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority website.
Mental health and wellbeing
Many people may be feeling worried, stressed or anxious right now due to the Covid-19 outbreak and other pressures in their lives. There are lots of mental health resources available to help, including 24/7 crisis helplines and text services.
It’s more important than ever to stay healthy and well. The Live Well section on the NHS website has lots of information and advice on eating healthily, sleeping better and much more.