Getting the right care during the May bank holiday

It’s the bank holiday and if you or someone in your family has a minor injury or illness this weekend, don’t spend your time waiting in the emergency department - there are lots of different ways that you can get advice, support and treatments from the NHS.

NHS Kernow’s Chairman, Dr Iain Chorlton, said: “We want everyone to have fun this weekend, so take a few simple steps to make sure you’re prepared for fun and relaxation, rather than any medical mishaps.  

“Our minor injury units and urgent care centres are open all weekend, with Camborne Redruth open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week, and West Cornwall Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre open 24 hours. You can get treatment for broken and fractured bones; burns; stings and scalds.  Details of locations and opening times of all our minor injury units are published on our website: www.kernowccg.nhs.uk

“We also need your help to make sure we have plenty of beds available at our acute and community hospitals for people who need them. If you have a friend or relative in hospital and you’re asked to collect them, please do so as soon as you can so we can get the bed ready for someone else who needs it.”

Here are some treatment options if you or a family member becomes ill during the bank holiday: 

  • Self-care: Having a few basic items in your medicine cabinet can save you time and effort if you become ill.  Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, and antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets.  If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP or call 111 when your GP surgery is closed.   
  • Visit your pharmacist: You can speak to your pharmacist for confidential expert advice and over-the-counter treatments for a range of common illnesses and complaints, such as stomach upsets, allergies, minor cuts, sticky eyes, nappy rash, skin conditions and coughs and colds. They can also arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don’t have to use the out of hours’ service or visit the emergency department.

This service is also available for anyone who’s on holiday or visiting family. You can also get details of which pharmacies are open during the bank holiday weekend, including evenings and Sunday by visiting www.kernowccg.nhs.uk or checking the NHS England website

  • NHS 111 – free health advice 24 hours a day: Call 111 if you need medical advice when your GP surgery is closed and your condition isn’t life threatening.It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones. It includes a full range of health services, including doctors, community nurses, emergency dental care and late opening chemists. 
  • Minor injury unit / Urgent care centre: If your injury is not serious you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) or the West Cornwall Hospital urgent care centre. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations. 

Minor injury units are based at:

  • Bodmin Community Hospital
  • Camborne Redruth Community Hospital
  • Falmouth Community Hospital
  • Launceston Community Hospital
  • Liskeard Community Hospital
  • Newquay Community Hospital
  • St Austell Community Hospital
  • St Mary’s Community Hospital
  • Stratton Community Hospital, Bude
  • St Michael’s Hospital, Hayle
  • West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance 

Find your nearest centre by visiting www.kernowccg.nhs.uk/choosewell   

  • Emergency: Only use the emergency department or the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. Call 999 if you have chest pain or become unconscious.   

If you do need to visit the emergency department, a minor injury unit or urgent care centre during the holiday, you can see how long you may have to wait by using the online waiting time service, which shows the longest wait, how many people are waiting to be seen and how many people are in the department. It also includes opening times and x-ray availability. Visit: www.royalcornwall.nhs.uk/services/emergency-department/minor-injury-wait-times/ 

Visit www.kernowccg.nhs.uk for details of all services, opening and waiting times, including for the east of the county.  

Listen to Dr Chorlton's health advice here.