HEALTH chiefs say patients who become unwell over the Easter weekend can save time if they choose the right health services.

With most GP practices closed for the four-day Easter weekend, people who need urgent medical help should phone 111, or if it is something less serious, people can visit a pharmacy.

Residents who need urgent medical help should phone NHS 111 – trained health professionals can advise on where to go for the best treatment – or if it’s something less serious like a cough, cold or rash, people can visit their local community pharmacy for advice and support.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, Dr Phil Garnett, said: “It’s important people use NHS resources sensibly and choose the right care, first time.

“A wide range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest. Often there is no shortcut to recovery – in many cases these things just need to run their course.”

People suffering from a minor ailment who need additional advice or reassurance should visit their local pharmacy or if it’s more serious, Urgent Treatment Centres like those based in Scarborough and Malton Hospitals.

Dr Garnett added: “While it’s possible to walk in and be seen, it’s much better to pre-book an appointment through NHS 111, who will direct you to the most appropriate place to meet your needs. If you receive an appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre, they will aim to see you within 30 minutes of your appointment time.

“The Accident and Emergency department and 999 are for emergencies only, in serious or life-threatening situations.”

The local NHS is also reminding patients with long-term conditions to make sure they have enough of their regular medication to cover them over the long Easter weekend.