How to access the NHS in Bolton this Easter
The Easter Bank Holiday weekend traditionally sees an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital.
Royal Bolton Hospital’s A&E department continues to be extremely busy with high demand against a backdrop of high Covid-19 cases.
With A&E waiting times much longer than normal, the NHS is sharing advice about how to find the most appropriate care as quickly as possible.
- Some local pharmacies will be open during certain hours over the weekend – even Easter Sunday. They can help with a number of minor conditions. Check the local pharmacy Easter opening times.
- NHS 111 First – by phone (call 111) or online – has clinicians on hand to give expert medical advice and direct people to the most appropriate care. If the condition is minor or non-urgent, NHS 111 can refer people to GPs, pharmacies or Urgent Treatment Centres. They may also refer someone to A&E if it’s considered to be appropriate.
- GP practices will not have routine appointments on the bank holidays, but if you require urgent help from a GP you should phone your practice in the usual way and you’ll be directed to the right help your issue via the out-of-hours GP service.
- Emergency dental appointments are available over the Easter bank holidays. Call the Greater Manchester dental helpline. They will advise how to make an appointment, should you need one: 0333 332 3800
If someone’s condition is life-threatening they should attend at A&E where staff will be ready to help. This might include:
- Severe chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- Bleeding you can’t stop
- Possible broken bones
- Loss of consciousness
- Stroke symptoms
- Severe tummy pain or headache
- A child who is very unwell
Damian Bates, a consultant in the Royal Bolton Hospital’s A&E department, said: “We will see people in the order they need to be seen. If you’re not an emergency, you will wait for several hours sometimes so think carefully where you go for care or treatment.
“We’re really happy to see people when they’re unwell, that’s what we are here for. However, we get a lot of people coming to the Royal Bolton Hospital because they don’t think they have a choice of going somewhere else. Ring 111 and get that advice about where you need to be.”
A&E staff are working with the public to improve understanding about finding the most appropriate heath service.
Laura Wells, accident and emergency matron, explained: “We understand that it’s difficult for patients to know which service to pick. We would ask people to educate themselves around what can be dealt with at A&E and what can be treated at other local services.
“When we can see A&E isn’t the most appropriate option, we try and explain that to patients to boost awareness and help them to feel more confident about making the right choice in the future.”
Opening times for services such as pharmacies, walk in centres and GP practices may change over the Easter bank holiday, so people are advised to plan ahead to make sure they know where to go for help.
Dr Niruban Ratnarajah, chairman of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “There is a range of NHS services available for anyone needing medical help over the bank holiday weekend. If you need urgent help, visit 111.nhs.uk or dial 111. They can book an urgent appointment if needed. You can also visit www.nhs.uk for advice on common symptoms.
“Some local pharmacies will be open during certain hours over the weekend – even Easter Sunday – and these can help with a number of minor conditions. You won’t need an appointment and many have a separate consultation room so you can discuss your condition in private.
“GP practices will not be offering routine appointments on the bank holidays themselves, but if you require urgent help from a GP you should phone your practice in the usual way and you’ll be directed to the right help at the right time for your issue via the out-of-hours GP service. You are reminded to wear a face covering in all health care settings.”