Health services in Bristol this Christmas are 24/7

Thursday, 20 December 2012

During the Christmas and New Year period it is important to know how and where you can access NHS services so that you are treated in the right place, at the right time.

The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Southmead Hospital and the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department at Frenchay Hospital are open as usual during Christmas and New Year.

Southmead Minor Injuries Unit is open 9am-9pm every day of the year - last patient must be booked in by 8pm.

The Yate Minor Injuries Unit is open weekdays 8.30am-7.30pm and during weekends and bank holidays (including Christmas Day and Boxing Day) 10am-2pm. There are no X-ray facilities on bank holidays or weekends.

You should go to your local A&E department if you need emergency care for a serious injury, or illness - for example, if you are experiencing breathing difficulties, blood loss, or if you suspect that you have a broken bone.

Juliette Hughes, clinical matron for the A&E Department at Frenchay Hospital, said: "The A&E department at Frenchay Hospital is likely to be extremely busy over the Christmas period caring for people with serious conditions.

“In order to get the most effective help, members of the public should think about whether it is more appropriate to seek help from their GP or use one of the other health services such as NHS Direct, the GP-led health centre or the Minor Injuries Unit at Southmead Hospital which is open from 9am until 9pm every day of the year."

Remember your choices in an emergency

In times of an accident or a medical emergency understanding what options are available will help you to get the best care as quickly as possible.

We want to ensure that people choose the right service for their needs, and that hospital services are freed up to treat people who really need A&E and other specialist services.

Choosing the right health service for your needs enables you to get the best treatment for your condition. Find out more about your choices in an emergency.

During the Christmas period across Bristol, the GP out-of-hours service provides health information 24 hours a day for non-urgent medical issues.

Dr Martin Jones, Bristol clinical commissioning group (CCG) chair said: “Knowing where to access health services is essential.  We want patients to understand that they can access healthcare treatment over the Christmas period and, if necessary, where to get it. 

"It’s important that patients receive advice and treatment from the most appropriate place.  Busy emergency departments are best suited in managing emergencies and serious injuries.

“More rapid access for problems that a GP or nurse can assess is best handled via your local practice, GP out-of-hours service, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.

"Also, GP surgeries are not closed all over Christmas and New Year holidays, if you think you need urgent GP care contact your GP surgery to get in touch with the out-of-hours service.”

Patients are also reminded to check with their local pharmacy about their opening times over Christmas and to ensure that any repeat prescriptions are collected in plenty of time before Christmas. 

A well stocked medicine cabinet is also useful; so don’t forget to stock up on paracetamol, cough medicine, sore throat lozenges, upset stomach remedies as well as plasters and cotton wool.

More information on GP and pharmacy services is available on the NHS Bristol website.

Happy Christmas

North Bristol NHS Trust would like to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. Remember to keep warm and well during the festive season.