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GPs are reminding people in north east Essex and east and west Suffolk that GP practices will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday August 30.

A number of pharmacies across the area will be open on the day and other support for physical and mental wellbeing is available. People are reminded to be sun safe and to put in their repeat prescriptions ahead of the long weekend.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, a GP in Colchester and chairman of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you feel unwell and don’t know what to do, you can access urgent medical help and advice at anytime by either calling NHS 111 or visiting the NHS 111 Online website. NHS 111 is manned by trained advisors who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.”

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP and chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you use repeat prescription medicine make sure you have enough to last for the Bank Holiday and that you order it in good time. I also encourage everyone to check they have the medicine cabinet essentials at home, such as antiseptic cream, sticking plasters and painkillers so they can best deal with minor illness and injury themselves.

"If we get some hot and sunny weather please remember babies less than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight and older infants should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. Make sure your child wears a sunhat and apply a sunscreen to your baby's skin. Speak to your pharmacist for advice.

"Sunscreen is important for adults too, but it is important not to rely on sunscreen alone. Wear clothes that will offer sun protection, such as a hat that protects the face, neck and ears and a long-sleeved top. Good quality sunglasses are also important to protect the eyes."

Dr Rosalind Tandy, mental health lead for NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you need support with your mental wellbeing over the holiday weekend, you can speak to a trained advisor for crisis support in Suffolk by calling First Response on 0808 196 3494 and in north east Essex by calling 111 and choosing option 2. There are lots of resources to support good mental health at www.wellbeingnands.co.uk and young people 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: “Pharmacies are experts in medicine management and minor ailments and have trained for five years to be specialists in their field. When bank holidays arise there is a typical rush from patients putting in their repeat prescriptions. We would kindly ask that you allow 5-7 working days before the bank holiday weekend to allow enough time for the GP practice and pharmacy to dispense them."