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Use local NHS services wisely during the August bank holiday weekend

August bank holiday weekend is fast approaching and as many look forward to spending time with friends and family, local people are reminded to plan ahead making sure they have enough medicines and use NHS services wisely over the long weekend.

A&E departments are for life-threatening illnesses only and very busy during bank holidays. Using the right health service for your needs can prevent you waiting around in A&E, ensure you receive more appropriate treatment more quickly and free up local A&E staff to help those patients with the most serious conditions. 

Around 40 per cent of people who attend A&E departments are discharged requiring no treatment and could have received the help they needed more swiftly elsewhere. Residents shouldn't use the ambulance service and A&E as an alternative to their GP. If your GP practice is closed you can call South East London Doctors on Call on 0203 693 9066 where they can provide you with an over-the-phone consultation or ask you to attend one of their clinics for an out-of-hours appointment.

You can go to Guy's Urgent Care Centre at Guy's Hospital without an appointment if you have a minor illness or injuries like cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks. For everyday cuts and bruises, please visit your local pharmacist as they are qualified to advise on health issues and medication as well as treat headaches, an upset stomach or other common ailments.

You can also call NHS 111 if you need medical help fast but are unsure where to go. It is free to use and will direct you to the right local service, or give health advice that is best able to meet your needs.

If you've used NHS 111 or the GP out of hours service before, we would really like to find out what your experience has been.  Please let us know by filling in a short survey: or you can attend a patient workshop on 14 September. Please visit for more details.

Health services available locally can be found by visiting the NHS Choices website. Local pharmacy opening hours over the bank holiday can be found by visiting ​