Stop and think this Easter and use Dorset’s NHS services wisely

13th April 2022

Residents and visitors to Dorset can support the NHS this Easter by choosing the right health services during the busy holiday period.

Our hospital emergency departments continue to be under extreme pressure, with increasing Covid-19 cases continuing to have an impact on staffing levels.

With one of the busiest weekends of the year looming, local health and care partners in the county are asking residents and visitors to the area to think about the most appropriate service for them before they seek help.

Seven ways you can support the NHS this Easter:

Use NHS services wisely to get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time. Our hospital emergency departments are under extreme pressure.

Think NHS 111. If you have an urgent need that cannot wait until you can access your GP visit or call 111.   We’ll do our very best to answer your call as quickly as possible though it may take a little longer due to the current demand. Please be patient and kind when you speak to our teams.

Speak to your GP where you live if you are visiting Dorset. Contact your own GP practice for support or advice on your ongoing or minor health issues.

Get prepared. In advance of the Easter weekend, contact your own pharmacist or GP practice for ongoing or minor health issues or to get your repeat prescriptions – make use of online services such as eConsult and remote consultations.

Use Digital Health services as an on-demand alternative to in person services.

  • The Digital Health App Library recommends apps that help with a wide range of health conditions, from managing joint and muscular problems, to how to improve mental wellbeing
  • The Our Dorset Video Library provides advice and guidance on a range of conditions and general health
  • Healthier Together provides advice for parents, young people and pregnant women

Covid-19 restrictions have ended but cases are still very high. Stay at home if you are unwell with Covid-19 or experiencing symptoms of any infectious illness.

  • Get vaccinated find out the latest information 
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors – meeting outdoors is safer
  • Consider wearing a face covering
  • Stay at home and avoid contact with others if you’re feeling unwell to avoid passing Covid-19 and other infectious diseases on to other people, particularly those who are most vulnerable
  • Wash your hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes

Only ever call 999 in a medical emergency– this is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Dr Forbes Watson, local Dorset GP and Chair of the NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This coming Easter holiday and Easter weekend we are asking people to stop and think when they need help.

“We want to be clear that healthcare is there for you when you need it, but as we face huge demand coupled with the impact of Covid-19 we are asking everyone to consider what would be the best service for them if they need help over the Easter holiday and long weekend.

“Health and care staff are working extremely hard in the face of some pretty challenging circumstances, so we also ask people to be considerate. We are doing our best and we thank everyone for their patience.”

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, said: “We’ve continued to see a rapid rise in Covid-19 rates recently, with infection rates at very high levels across the county and the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital beds at its highest point so far this year.

“As we move to a Living with Covid approach it is important to remember and recognise that without vaccination protection, we would be in a much more serious situation. The roll out of the Spring Booster campaign to over 75s and clinically vulnerable people will continue to help with reducing the impact of Covid-19, and numbers needing hospital treatment for serious disease. But please also remember the part that basic public health measures play in reducing infections too.

“Dorset’s health and care services are extremely busy and the current high infection rates are impacting staffing levels. We can all help to reduce this pressure and keep these services running by taking some simple precautions. If you have symptoms of any infectious illness you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

“Consider wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially around people you do not usually meet. Get plenty of fresh air and wash your hands regularly. Taking these precautions wherever we can, will help to keep life moving as we head into the spring.”

Latest news