Doctors in Sunderland are encouraging people in the area to plan their healthcare this bank holiday weekend.
With advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them, visiting the pharmacist or phoning NHS on 111 can save people time in the waiting room.
Dr Jackie Gillespie, a local GP and prescribing lead for NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you’re not feeling well over the bank holiday weekend, please take some time to consider where you should go to find help.
"That could mean getting advice from your local pharmacy, or dialling NHS 111 for more urgent, but not life-threatening, matters.
"Pharmacists offer expert, confidential advice and treatment for many minor health problems.
"And using pharmacies also takes the pressure off A&E departments in the region, freeing up staff there for real emergencies.”
Some pharmacies will remain open on Monday, May 2 when other services are often unavailable. For more information, see www.sunderlandccg.nhs.uk.
For information on walk-in centres, urgent care centres or minor injuries units, visit the NHS Choices website. Patients can type in their postcode on the website to find their nearest services.