Healthcare during the holidays
Monday 1st December
During school breaks and public holidays, particularly the extended bank holidays at Christmas and Easter, it can be difficult to know where to turn for health advice. Here's a handy reminder.
Normally, your GP surgery is your first point of contact for any health condition that's not life-threatening. However, we understand that it's not always possible to contact your GP, particularly at the weekend or on a bank holiday. Outside regular opening hours you can still phone your GP, and you will usually be redirected to your surgery’s out-of-hours service. This operates from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at the weekend and during bank holidays.
Members of benenden health, on joining, have access to the 24-hour GP advice line. You will be triaged to assess your needs and you will be called back by a qualified doctor. To make things easier, you can specify a 15-minute time slot when the doctor will call you back. This advice line is also available to overseas members.
When your GP surgery is closed, you can also call NHS 111, by dialling 111. This is the number to call when it's less urgent than a 999 emergency call. The service will assess how urgent your medical problem is and, if appropriate, you will be offered medical advice, as well as details of where to go locally for any care that may be required.
This could be:
- Minor injuries unit (MIU), a service offering assessment and treatment for less serious injuries such as sprains and strains;
- NHS walk-in centre (WIC), where you can see an experienced healthcare professional such as a nurse or doctor, without the need for an appointment. Please note not all WICs have a doctor on site. You can be offered advice, assessment and treatment for less serious ailments and injuries, such as cuts, bruises, minor infections, strains and skin complaints.
- Urgent care centre, which provides a variety of services. These vary in different areas and so, before you head for an urgent care centre, you are advised to phone ahead or to call NHS 111 to find out whether the service in question is available.
In a genuine medical emergency or other life-threatening situation, call 999.
Your membership – what's included
For details of the healthcare services available as soon as you join benenden health, and those available after a six-month qualifying period, read What we cover.