West Suffolk health authorities urge Covid caution over Platinum Jubilee holiday
Health planners have warned that essential services are still facing major pressures - and are urging residents to exercise caution over the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday.
Some services in West Suffolk and north-east Essex will be restricted over the holiday period.
GP practices in the area will be closed on June 2 and June 3, although a number of pharmacies will remain open.
A full list of these pharmacies is being made available online.
Illness and mental health crisis support will continue to be delivered via 111, and Covid vaccination services will also run as usual.
The regional Covid helpline will be open between 10am and 4pm every day between June 2 and June 5, and anybody with queries regarding the vaccine should contact 0344 2573961.
There are a number of practical steps people celebrating the Jubilee can take to minimise the spread of Covid and protect the NHS.
If possible, they should plan outdoor parties, rather than indoor gatherings, and should consider wearing a mask.
Members of the public should also wash their hands regularly, especially when exposed to groups of people.
Dr Christopher Browning, a Long Melford GP serving as chair of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Although Covid has been relegated in the news agenda partly due to the conflict in Ukraine, it is still very much with us, and our healthcare services such as GP practices and hospitals are still seeing staff affected by the virus and the subsequent detrimental effect on services.
"I urge anyone not fully vaccinated to take the holiday weekend to consider how important the vaccine is to protect your own health and the health of our loved ones.
"The local Covid helpline is open throughout the holiday weekend for anyone with any questions or concerns."
Although some pharmacies may still be open through the holiday, the health authorities are urging people with prescriptions to plan ahead.
Mark Shenton, a GP and professor of integrated care at the University of Suffolk, says: "Make some useful preparations for the holiday weekend by remembering that GP practices will be closed on the Thursday and Friday and that some pharmacies will be open throughout the long weekend.
"Take a look in your medicine cabinet to check that you have the essentials, such as sticking plasters and paracetamol, so you are ready to more easily deal with minor illness and injury.
"Go to the pharmacy and ask for advice on what you should have at home to best meet your family’s needs.
"And if you take prescription medicine it’s important you have enough to last over the holidays.
"When people run out of their medicine it can be very distressing, so please take time to ensure you'll have enough to last.
"You'll need to factor in the time it takes for your GP practice to process your prescription request as well as the time needed by the pharmacy to dispense it, so don’t leave it too late."