GPs are appealing for Medway residents to take some precautionary measures in case they fall ill over the bank holiday weekend.

Summer months are a busy time for the NHS, with soaring temperatures leading to increased numbers of patients suffering heat exhaustion, sunburn and allergic reactions from insect bites.

Being aware and well prepared can help people to stay healthy, cool and protected, says NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Not all ailments need assistance from an NHS service – a grazed knee, a sore throat, mild sunburn or mild sunstroke may be best treated by staying at home, resting and drinking plenty of fluids.

Pharmacists are trained to provide a range of support and you can simply turn up and ask for advice with no prior appointment. Pharmacies in Medway are open late and on Sundays every week, and several pharmacies are open on bank holiday Monday.

Those who take regular medication should check if they have enough to last over the bank holiday, and have their prescription renewed in advance if needs be. Many GP surgeries have links with pharmacies offering a repeat prescription service, meaning medication can be delivered or collected at your convenience.

People who need to see a GP when their practice is closed can go to the walk-in centre, Medway NHS Health Centre in Canterbury Street, Gillingham. It is open from 8am to 8pm 365 days a year and patients don’t have to be registered with the practice but may have a wait to be seen.

Minor injury units in Gravesend, Sittingbourne and Sheppey will be open to treat sprains and strains, broken bones, wound infections, minor burns and scalds, minor head injuries, insect and animal bites, minor eye injuries and injuries to the back, shoulder and chest.

Dr Nathan Nathan, Chair of NHS Medway CCG, said: “A good start is a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home that can meet the majority of day-to-day problems. This should include paracetamol, antiseptic wipes and cream, sun-cream, plasters, tweezers and a thermometer.

“Pharmacies are open late into the evening and at weekends in Medway, and several are open over the bank holiday. Pharmacists can offer advice and guidance on minor illnesses and injuries.

“Out of hours GPs will also be available for those who need urgent medical help when their own practice is closed. Please keep A&E free for those who really need it.”

To find out more about summer health or for more information on staying safe in the sun, visit http://www.nhs.uk/Summerhealth.

Helpful contacts:
• DentaLine – for dental emergencies that cannot wait until your dentist reopens. 01634 890300. Open evenings and weekends.
• Out-of-hours GP – for urgent help when your GP surgery is closed, phone your GP and listen to the answerphone message for further instruction.
• Mental Health Matters – for confidential, emotional support 24/7, phone 0800 107 0160.
Minor injuries units are nurse-led services and no appointment is necessary. They are at:

Sittingbourne Community Hospital
ME10 4DT, 01795 418300
Open 9am – 9pm, 7 days a week
X-ray 10am – 8pm weekends and bank holidays

Sheppey Community Hospital
ME12 3LT, 01795 879100
Open 9am – 9pm, 7 days a week
No X-ray weekends and bank holidays

Gravesham Community Hospital
DA11 0DG, 01474 360816
Open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week
No X-ray weekends and bank holidays

Walk-in centre
NHS Medway Healthcare Centre
Canterbury Street, Gillingham, ME7 5LF
01634 575232
Open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week

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