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GPs issue NHS care advice for August bank holiday weekend

Doctors in north east London are urging people to use local health services wisely over the bank holiday weekend to ensure everyone can get the care they need.

It comes after more than 16,700 people went to A&E units across north east London over the previous two bank holiday weekends. Many people can be treated safely and comfortably elsewhere, meaning those who need life-saving care can be seen quicker.  

Your best routes to urgent care include: visiting your local pharmacy for advice, booking an out-of-hours appointment with your GP or contacting NHS 111.

People in Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest can access out-of-hours GP appointments seven days a week, including in the evening, on weekends and on bank holidays. 

NHS 111 is open 24 hours and is also available online, offering the same service without having to make a call. You can access the service at

NHS 111 will be able to signpost you to the most appropriate service available over the bank holiday. If there is a life-threatening situation, you should always call 999 but for other urgent care needs please visit or call NHS 111. 

To find out more about how to seek urgent care, visit for help and advice, including a short video. 

Doctors are also reminding people to stay safe in the hot weather and ensure medication and repeat prescriptions are ordered as early as possible as most GP surgeries will be closed over the bank holiday weekend. People can order their repeat prescriptions through the NHS App. To find your local pharmacy and bank holiday opening times, please visit the NHS website.

Dr Emma Young, an emergency medicine consultant in Newham Hospital’s emergency department, said: “It is important that everyone prepares ahead of the bank holiday weekend, by ordering their prescriptions and stocking up their medicine cabinet for minor ailments. By being prepared, everyone can play their part in ensuring that emergency services are available for those who need it most.

“Many people may have to wait a long time to be seen in a busy A&E department, when they may have been seen much quicker elsewhere. That’s why this bank holiday weekend, please think about visiting your local pharmacy or calling NHS 111 first, and only visit a hospital if it’s a medical emergency.”

Dr Jagan John, a local GP and ICB board member at NHS North East London, said: “If you need urgent medical care or mental health support, the NHS is here for you.

“You can book GP appointments over the weekend and our NHS mental health crisis lines are open all day, every day.”

GP appointments are available every normal weekday evening from 6.30pm to 10pm (8pm in Hackney and City of London), and from 8am to 8pm on weekends and bank holidays.

  • If you live in the City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest or Newham you can book these appointments by calling your GP practice as usual during working hours or by calling 111 out of hours.
  • If you live in Barking and Dagenham, Havering or Redbridge you can book these appointments by calling the GP hubs booking hotline on 020 3770 1888 (open from 8 am to 8 pm) or by calling 111 any time.

In Barking, Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge, you can also get help with minor injuries and illnesses at the community Urgent Treatment Centres at Barking Community Hospital and Harold Wood Polyclinic. These are open 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. You can call NHS 111 to book an appointment or walk in and wait to be seen. You do not need to be registered with a GP.

If you find yourself needing mental health support over the bank holiday weekend, you can call the local NHS crisis lines. These are free, open 24/7, and available to adults, children and young people. You will speak to experienced staff who can help you. 

If you are concerned about someone you know, please encourage them to call. Although it is preferable for them to call themselves, you can also call on their behalf. The crisis line for each borough and the City of London can be found here and as follows:

  • Hackney – 0800 073 0006
  • City of London – 0800 073 0006
  • Newham – 0800 073 0066
  • Tower Hamlets – 0800 073 0003 
  • Waltham Forest – 0800 995 1000
  • Barking and Dagenham – 0800 995 1000
  • Havering – 0800 995 1000
  • Redbridge – 0800 995 1000