NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is asking people for their help ahead of the bank holiday weekend and further industrial action.

Residents and visitors to the county are being urged to choose health and care services wisely as the NHS prepares for a busy Easter and further industrial action. 

Some junior doctors are expected to take part in strike action for four days, including those in Cornwall. This is expected to last from 7am on Tuesday, April 11, until 7am on Saturday, April 15.

Coming straight after the Easter bank holiday weekend, this is likely to have a big impact on our health and care system

The NHS has said that “it is vital that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening situations.

“While the NHS is working hard to prioritise resources to protect emergency treatment, we need your help to make sure that care is available to those who need it the most.”

So what are the NHS advising those in Cornwall to do? 

  • Self-care: Stock your medicine cabinet or pack a first-aid kit with; paracetamol and aspirin, plus the equivalent for children if you have them; mild laxatives to relieve constipation; re-hydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting; indigestion remedies; antiseptic cream

  • Pharmacy: Visit your local pharmacy for headaches, upset stomachs, aches and pains. They can also provide an emergency supply of repeat medicines if you run out. 

  • NHS 111: Visit NHS 111 online or call 111 for advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

  • GP: Please call your own GP for symptoms that will not go away, even when you are on holiday

  • Minor injury unit: Attend your local minor injury unit for conditions and injuries that are not life-threatening, such as sprains, fractures and burns. 

  • Cornwall's 24/7 mental health helpline: Call 0800 038 5300 if you are worried about your own or someone else's mental health

  • 999: Call 999 in life-threatening emergencies. This includes trouble breathing, chest pain, severe bleeding, stroke, and loss of consciousness

The organisation has also pointed people to the benefit of local pharmacies, explaining that they can assist with remedies for coughs and colds, bites and stings, hay fever, rashes and minor infections, through to travel vaccinations, blood pressure checks and emergency contraception.

They also explain that pharmacies can provide antibiotics for some conditions and can even arrange an emergency supply of repeat medicines if you run out at a time when your own GP practice is unable to issue a prescription.

Finally, NHS trusts are asking friends, and neighbours to work with staff to get patients home from hospital when they are fit for discharge. If you have a loved one in hospital, please be ready to help them home as soon as they are well enough.

Fast access one-off grants of up to £1,500 are also available. If you can support someone in your home, or in their own home, with a little extra help, please contact the ward directly.

Kate Shields, Chief Exec of NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care System, said:

"Cornwall’s NHS is facing significant pressure, and we're asking for your help ahead of the busy long bank holiday weekend and 4 days of strike action by junior doctors.

“Our staff are working incredibly hard to make sure our patients receive the best care possible, but it's more important than ever that people choose services appropriately to ensure care is available to those who need it most.

“This includes using 111 online as the first port of call for health needs, and only using 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency”.