Get the Right Healthcare this Easter

NHS Forth Valley is preparing for a very challenging Easter period as it continues to face large numbers of seriously ill patients requiring inpatient care along with high rates of coronavirus in local hospitals and communities across the health board area.

This, combined with large numbers of patients experiencing delays in being discharged from local hospitals, has placed unprecedented pressures on local health services as we head into the Easter break. To help address this local people are being asked to help by ensuring they get the Right Care in the Right Place throughout the Easter holiday period.

The Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which continues to be exceptionally busy, is there to treat patients with serious illnesses and injuries, like suspected heart attacks, strokes and breathing difficulties, who require emergency care. Anyone with a non-life-threatening injury or illness, who requires urgent healthcare or advice, should call NHS 24 on 111, day or night, to access advice and treatment as quickly as possible.

Patients who attend the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital with minor or non-urgent injuries or illnesses may, where appropriate, be safely redirected to other more appropriate services in or out with the hospital. This could be the Minor Injuries Unit at Stirling Health and Care Village, a local pharmacist or GP practice or the Urgent Care Centre within Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

NHS Forth Valley’s Medical Director, Andrew Murray, explained: “The Easter break is always a busy time for the NHS, but this year we are facing extra pressures due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. This is resulting in significant staffing and service pressures in our hospitals and community teams.”

“Our staff are doing everything possible to support patients but to help them please call NHS 24 on 111 for advice to help your get right care, in the right place. This will help keep avoid long waits and prevent our Emergency Department from becoming overcrowded. It will also free up our ED staff to deliver care as quickly as possible to those patients most in need of our help.”

GP practices will be closed for two days over the festive period on Friday 15th April and Monday 18th April but anyone requiring urgent health advice when their GP practice is closed should call NHS 24 on 111. They can provide advice, arrange a consultation with a local healthcare professional or organise an appointment for you to be seen at a local GP out-of-hours centre.

The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Stirling Health and Care Village will remain open every day over the Easter holiday period, including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. It can treat adults and children over the age of one for cuts and grazes, minor burns, sprains and strains. It can also help with minor eye and ear injuries and X-ray and treat broken bones including broken ankles and wrists. This year, people are being asked to phone NHS 24 on 111 before attending the MIU so they can speak directly to a local healthcare professional which may avoid the need to travel to the Unit. They can also be given an appointment to avoid the need to wait when they attend.

A number of local pharmacists across Forth Valley will be open on the Easter public holidays, including Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. As part of a scheme called Pharmacy First, local pharmacists are also able to provide free treatment for a wide range of common health conditions without a GP prescription. These include urine infections, conjunctivitis, skin conditions (such as eczema, dermatitis and reactions to insect bites) skin infections and thrush.
Local opticians across Forth Valley can provide advice and treatment for a wide range of common eye conditions such as blurred vision and eye infections or refer you directly to hospital if the problem is more serious.

More information on local health services, including details of pharmacy opening times over the Easter period, can be found on the Spring Zone of NHS Forth Valley’s website