Publish date: 28 March 2024

Over the past week, staff working in Queen Alexandra Hospital’s Emergency Department have seen significantly higher levels of demand than usual with one person attending every three minutes (470 people) on Monday 25 March 2024.

To help our hardworking teams to continue caring for people with emergency and life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as heart attack, stroke and serious blood loss, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust are asking our local communities to check they know where to go for urgent care this Easter.

Most GP Practices will re-open as usual after the Bank Holiday weekend and if you aren’t sure how to access services out of hours, you can ring your practice for a recorded message or contact NHS 111 Online.

Urgent Treatment Centres will remain open with three located in the Portsmouth and South East Hampshire area: Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Petersfield Community Hospital and St Mary’s Health Campus. They are open between 8am and 8pm with Gosport open until 10pm, even on Bank Holidays.

People can help treat common illnesses and ailments at home by making sure they have a well-stocked first aid kit and everything is up to date. The NHS website has plenty of information on the types of items to stock up including plasters, thermometer, antiseptic cream, painkillers suitable for the ages of those living in your home, antihistamines and cleansing wipes.

Ann Thomas, Deputy Chief Nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said, “The Easter school holidays are here, and our teams are already very busy caring for those who need it most. We would urge you to think where the right place for your symptoms is and if unsure contact NHS 111 Online or by phone. If people have concerns about their health, we encourage them to reach out to the most appropriate service. Choosing the right service helps you get the care you need quicker and reduces pressure on urgent care teams and the ambulance service, so they can focus on supporting those patients who need them most.”

We continue asking for relatives and friends to help get their loved one’s home from hospital when they are ready to be discharged. Patients will be discharged as usual over the Bank Holiday weekend, so if you have a loved one in hospital and are planning to go away for the weekend, please keep us updated about alternative arrangements such as transport when they are ready to leave.

Helen Atkinson, Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council and Chair of Health and Care Portsmouth Partnership Board, said, "Knowing where to get the right healthcare treatment is so important, especially over a Bank Holiday weekend when we know that services will be more stretched. Some pharmacies remain open, our urgent treatment centres are open every day, and you can visit 111 online or call 111 if you're not sure where to go for physical or mental health support."

KWTG - website header.png

Know Where to Go

Here are our top tips to get the best care and most appropriate support if you or anyone you care for becomes unwell this Easter:

  • Make sure you know where your nearest Urgent Treatment Centre is. UTCs are in Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Petersfield Community Hospital and St Mary’s Health Campus. Most are open between 8am and 8pm with Gosport open until 10pm, even on Bank Holidays, and can help with illnesses and injuries such as broken bones, cuts and bruises, skin infections and rashes, and high temperatures.
  • Use NHS 111 online and let the experts help you if you are not sure where to access the most appropriate help for you. NHS 111 can also help with finding out of hours mental health and dentistry support.
  • Make use of online help – try for local advice and Healthier Together Hampshire if you are concerned about an unwell child or are pregnant.
  • Please remember - the Emergency Department (ED) is for life threatening emergencies only, not convenience.
  • Pharmacies: Many will be open across the bank holiday weekend – Good Friday (March 29), Easter Sunday (March 31) and Easter Monday (April 1). Along with advice on minor illnesses and over the counter medicines, many pharmacies are now able to treat the following conditions: shingles, sore throats, infected insect bites, earaches, sinusitis, impetigo, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI). You can find your nearest pharmacy here:

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust have also created a free downloadable Easter colouring sheet with some top health tips for your child. Make sure to stick their wonderful creations on the fridge and share a photo with us by email or on social media