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Issued on behalf of NHS North East Essex, NHS West Suffolk and NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk clinical commissioning groups

GPs are reminding people in north east Essex and east and west Suffolk that GP practices will be closed on bank holiday Monday August 31.

A number of pharmacies across the area will be open on the day and other support for physical and mental wellbeing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Nimalan de Silva, a GP in Colchester and co-opted member of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you have any concerns about coronavirus you should firstly visit the NHS 111 Online symptom checker for help and advice. It’s very important you do not go to your hospital’s emergency department or the local pharmacy as you could potentially be spreading the virus.”

Dr Juno Jesuthasan, a GP in Ipswich and a member of the clinical executive of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you are feeling unwell with a non-coronavirus related concern then please speak to your local pharmacy or call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 Online. NHS 111 is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is manned by trained advisors who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you use repeat prescription medicine make sure you have enough to last for the bank holiday. It takes at least 48 hours for your GP practice to process a repeat prescription request, and during this time sometimes longer, and it then needs to be dispensed by the pharmacy."

Dr John Hague, mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you need support with your mental wellbeing over the holiday weekend, you can speak to a trained advisor and access help and advice 24/7 in Suffolk by calling First Response 0808 196 3494 and in north east Essex by calling 111 and choosing option 2. Young people aged 11 – 25 years can also access online emotional wellbeing support from Kooth at www.kooth.com"

Tania Farrow, Pharmacist and Chief Officer of Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “Where a pharmacy is open local to you, they can support you with help and advice about minor ailments, prescription queries and can provide a range of other services. They should be your first point of contact this bank holiday and will signpost you to other services if they feel you need additional support.”

The pharmacy information page of the NHS England website HERE will be updated later this week with details of local pharmacies open on bank holiday Monday August 31.