People living across Lancashire and South Cumbria have been urged to get repeat prescription orders in early to avoid being without vital medication during the coming month which will see three bank holidays as well as nurses on strike.
This year, in addition to the Early May Bank Holiday (1 May) and Spring Bank Holiday (29 May), there will be a bank holiday on Monday 8 May following the coronation of King Charles III.
People who use a repeat prescription have been advised to request their medications as early as possible, giving their GP practice and pharmacy plenty of notice to have their prescriptions ready to collect.
Dr Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises healthcare services in the region, said: “Bank holidays are typically a busy time for health services and you can play your part by being prepared and knowing what support is available for you should you need it.
“If you have a long-term health condition that relies on medication, such as asthma and diabetes, please make sure you order your prescription in plenty of time.
“Any repeat medicines should be ordered in plenty of time for them to be processed and dispensed. Most GP practices need a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to issue a repeat prescription.
“Community pharmacies also generally need between 24 and 48 hours from when they receive a repeat prescription to prepare medicines.”
Another option for people with a long-term repeat prescription is to ask their GP about electronic repeat dispensing, which can allow a doctor to sign off 12 months’ worth of prescriptions at once, which means prescriptions will be ready for collection whenever they need it without the need to place their regular order with their GP practice. This means people don’t run out of medicines and flexibility within the service means pharmacies can provide enough medicines to cover bank holidays without the need to contact the GP practice.
GP practices in the region will be closed on bank holidays so for any urgent care needs, people are asked to visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111. NHS 111 will help direct you to the most appropriate service which could be a walk-in centre, pharmacy or an out-of-hours GP appointment.
It is also worth checking your general medicine cabinet before the bank holiday to make sure it is well stocked with essentials such as paracetamol, cough and cold remedies, antihistamines, and plasters and bandages. These can all be bought cheaply from supermarkets or pharmacies and your local pharmacist can also provide free, confidential, expert advice and treatment for a variety of common complaints.
Some local pharmacies will be open on bank holidays and are able to provide expert advice and deal with minor ailments and illnesses. Details of which pharmacies will be open on the bank holidays will be available at www.lancashireandsouthcumbria.icb.nhs.uk/our-work/your-local-services.