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Don’t ditch the mask yet – useful Platinum Jubilee holiday health advice

The extended bank holiday weekend to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will see many people enjoying themselves with family and friends - yet health care services are still coping with big pressures and people across Suffolk and north east Essex are being encouraged to be prepared and know what to do if they or a family member feels unwell.

  • GP practices will be closed on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd June
  • Some pharmacies will be open over the holiday weekend with the list of locations and opening times HERE
  • NHS 111 is available 24/7 by telephone and online for help and advice if you or a family member feels unwell
  • Mental health crisis support is available 24/7 by calling NHS 111 and choosing option number 2
  • COVID vaccinations are still available, and everyone eligible will be made welcome. Visit www.sneevaccine.org.uk for trusted facts and locations and times of walk-in clinics and details on how to make a booked appointment
  • The local COVID helpline will be open 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on June 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th – if you have any questions about the vaccine call 0344 257 3961 and speak to a health professional
  • Please check that you will have enough repeat prescription medicine to last over the long weekend, remembering it can take several days for your GP practice to process your request and for the pharmacy to dispense. If you're going away for the weekend don't forget to take any prescription medicine with you.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, a GP in Colchester and chairman of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “For many this holiday weekend will be a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends, and after two years of COVID restrictions the chance to enjoy ourselves is certainly to be welcomed.

“Yet, as a health professional, I continue to urge people to act with caution and remember that COVID continues to be present within our communities. If you can, enjoy a bank holiday picnic outdoors rather than remaining indoors, to help prevent virus particles spreading. Keep washing your hands regularly and encourage others to do so, and please don’t ditch the mask just yet – it remains an important form of protection when you are in crowded spaces.”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Although COVID has been relegated in the news agenda partly due to the conflict in Ukraine, it is still very much with us, and our healthcare services such as GP practices and hospitals are still seeing staff affected by the virus and the subsequent detrimental effect on services.

“I urge anyone not fully vaccinated to take the holiday weekend to consider how important the vaccine is to protect your own health and the health of our loved ones. The local COVID helpline is open throughout the holiday weekend for anyone with any questions or concerns.”

GP and Professor of Integrated Care at the University of Suffolk, Mark Shenton, says: “Make some useful preparations for the holiday weekend by remembering that GP practices will be closed on the Thursday and Friday and that some pharmacies will be open throughout the long weekend.

“Take a look in your medicine cabinet to check that you have the essentials, such as sticking plasters and paracetamol, so you are ready to more easily deal with minor illness and injury. Go to the pharmacy and ask for advice on what you should have at home to best meet your family’s needs.

“And if you take prescription medicine it’s important you have enough to last over the holidays. When people run out of their medicine it can be very distressing, so please take time to ensure you’ll have enough to last. You’ll need to factor in the time it takes for your GP practice to process your prescription request as well as the time needed by the pharmacy to dispense it, so don’t leave it too late."

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