Local NHS health services are here for you over the Easter bank holidays

Over the Easter bank holidays, local NHS health services are available to help support those who need urgent health advice or care.

To avoid getting caught out by the temporary changes to opening times, we are asking the community to keep informed about the actions you should take should you find yourself feeling unwell.

By having an awareness of all the services available and how best to use them, you are also helping us.


Think ‘pharmacy first’

Pharmacies will continue to be open over the bank holidays.

Make sure any repeat prescriptions are ordered in advance and that you have enough medication to see you through.

Check in on elderly relatives and friends to make sure they are also well stocked.

Your local pharmacy team are healthcare professionals who provide NHS services in the same way as GP Practices.

Most pharmacies also now offer extended opening hours in evenings, providing convenient clinical support with no appointment necessary.

Do not go to a pharmacy if you are self-isolating or have any symptoms of coronavirus. Book a test at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

You can find information on the opening times in central Lancashire by visiting*: https://www.centrallancashireccgs.nhs.uk/latest-news/335-pharmacy-opening-times-easter-bank-holiday-2021

*Please note, these times are subject to change and you should contact the pharmacies directly to check their exact opening times before attending.

To find your local pharmacy, visit https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/.


Need to see a GP?

GP practices will be closed over the bank holiday weekend.

To find out more about the bank holiday changes, or to enquire about booking an extended access evening or weekend appointment, call your GP directly.

If your symptoms stay the same or get worse, call NHS 111 who will be able to direct you to the right local service.

Our experienced and skilled GP’s can conduct consultations very well with the vast majority of patients using digital technology. Where appropriate, you will receive advice or care via video or over the phone.


When to use NHS 111

NHS 111 is there for you whenever you may need it.

The service is available both online, at https://111.nhs.uk/, or by dialling 111. It is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Trained advisors will assess your situation and help you reach the best NHS service for your need from providing urgent medical information or advice to booking appointments, putting you in touch with a healthcare professional to arranging emergency transport – they are on hand to direct you to the right local service.

NHS 111 is different to calling 999 and it is important to know the difference.

999 should only be used in a life-threatening emergency.

If it is not life-threatening, dial 111 first – so you can get the right care in the right place at the right time.


Need urgent treatment?

Urgent care centres are available at both the Royal Preston Hospital and Chorley Hospital which will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They can provide urgent treatment for injuries and illnesses and you do not need an appointment or referral to be seen.

Accident and emergency departments (A&E) are on-site at both the Royal Preston Hospital (24hrs) and Chorley Hospital (12hrs, 8am-8pm). They can treat medical emergencies such as life-threatening injuries, illnesses and major trauma.

Any child or young person (under 18 years of age) or pregnant women needing A&E services should attend the Royal Preston A&E to ensure that they get the best care in the right place. If these patients visit Chorley A&E, they will be safely transferred to the Royal Preston.

As a major trauma centre, with clinicians who are highly trained and experienced in treating complex broken bones and/or life-threatening injuries, the Royal Preston Hospital is the most appropriate place for this type of care. If you or a loved one suffer a serious fracture or broken bone then please go straight to Royal Preston Hospital.


Mental Health Support

The Wellbeing and Mental Health Helpline offer a freephone service which can be accessed by calling 0800 915 4640. This service is available 365 days a year and is open during the following times:

  • Monday – Friday 7:00pm – 11:00pm
  • Saturdays & Sundays – 12 midday to 12 midnight

The Samaritans can also be reached, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To contact them, dial 116 123.

Young people in Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston can also access free mental health support through a digital service called Togetherall. The service is available to all residents aged 16-25 who are going through a tough time or who need someone to talk to. It is not intended for those in an emergency situation but instead offers support as part of an online community. To access Togetherall, visit https://togetherall.com

If you do find yourself in an emergency situation or worry you may be a risk to yourself or others, you will be able to access help at an A&E department. Mental health professionals are available 24/7 and are trained to support you in crisis.


Dr Lindsey Dickinson, Chair and Clinical Lead of NHS Chorley and South Ribble CCG, said:

“The Easter bank holidays do not limit your options if you are feeling unwell. There are more appointments, pharmacies open and 24-hour support available so people can get the help they need. We would encourage you to be as prepared as possible, such as ordering any prescriptions in advance, and to come forward for care if you need it.”


Dr Sumantra Mukerji, Chair and Clinical Lead of NHS Greater Preston CCG, said:

“As a GP, I would advise you to familiarise yourself with the services available over the bank holidays. From the 29th March, further restrictions in England will also start to lift so please remember to get tested and self-isolate when required and to the follow the ‘hands, face, space’ and ‘letting fresh air in’ guidance. We hope that you do not need us, but we will be here for you if you do.”