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Know where to go for NHS care over Easter and doctors strike period

Knowing the best place to go for NHS care this Easter weekend and through the planned doctors strike can help you find the treatment you need more quickly, doctors in north east London have advised.

The number of people attending A&E in north east London over the winter (November to February) was 318,888 (compared to 226,419 last winter) and it is expected to remain extremely busy.

It is also likely that hospitals will be extremely busy for the days following Easter, with a four-day hospital doctors (junior doctors) strike planned from Tuesday 11 April.

Using your local pharmacy or GP where appropriate will allow you to receive treatment in a more comfortable environment and means those needing life-saving care can be seen sooner.

If you are unsure whether urgent medical care is needed, visiting NHS 111 online remains the best first port of call where a trained adviser will provide the best care pathway. You can also call 111 if you are unable to use the internet.

Most minor health conditions can be treated at home or with the help of local pharmacists. There are many over-the-counter medications which can be used to alleviate symptoms of viruses such as cold or flu without needing to use antibiotics.

You can find an open, late night pharmacy on the NHS London website, as well as the NHS Find a Pharmacy site.

GP appointments will be available to book throughout the long weekend to patients, including from 8am to 8pm on both Good Friday and Easter Monday.

  • If you live in the City of London, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest or Newham, you can book these appointments by calling your own GP practice as usual during working hours or by calling NHS 111 when it is closed.
  • If you live in Barking and Dagenham or Havering you can get an evening or weekend appointment by calling 020 3770 1888 from 8am to 8pm every day. In Redbridge call 020 3649 4499 or, if you can’t wait till the next day or following Monday, by calling 111 out of hours.
  • You can also get help with minor injuries and illnesses at the community urgent treatment centres (UTCs) at Barking Community Hospital and Harold Wood Polyclinic. These are open from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. You can call NHS 111 to book an appointment or walk in and wait to be seen.

Dr Jagan John, a local GP and board member at NHS North East London, said:

“If you are ill over the Easter weekend there are several ways that you can get the care you need. 

“Our A&Es are extremely busy, often with long, uncomfortable waits, and you will often get quicker, more appropriate help from your GP or pharmacist or by calling 111.”

If you have an urgent but not life-threatening medical need, make sure you visit NHS 111 online first rather than going straight to A&E. NHS 111 online makes it easier for you to get the treatment you need in the right place at the right time.

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