They are appealing for a calm and sensible approach ahead of what is expected to be a busy time for emergency care services. Many are expecting a rise in alcohol-related admissions when the pubs reopen.
There are fears that a rise in potentially-avoidable attendances could delay care and treatment for those in genuine need at hospitals around Wiltshire, and a return to pre-lockdown behaviours, or ignoring social distancing rules could lead to a spike in new coronavirus infections.
Chief executive of the BANES SW Clinical Commissioning Group Tracey Cox said: “This is not about spoiling the party for people who have been stuck inside for so long, but about urging people to continue being mindful of the situation we are still very much in.
“The number of coronavirus cases in our region has thankfully remained low, but that has not come about by chance, but by us all working together and staying alert to the risks around us.
“Nobody wants to see a return to where we were in March and April, not least the thousands of health and care staff in our region who have seen first-hand just how destructive and relentless this virus can be.”
Dr Stephen Haig is a consultant in emergency medicine and the associate medical director for the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: “We are working in a different way now to maintain social distancing and reduce the risk of infection, so we really want to avoid crowded emergency departments.
“By drinking so much alcohol that you need emergency care, you are potentially taking NHS resources away from other patients who are very sick.
“Please look after yourself and remember the NHS staff you’ve been clapping for”.
Emergency care services including the one at GWH will be open for those who need urgent help this weekend.
NHS 111 online is available 24/7 at www.111.nhs.uk, can be used by people looking for quick healthcare advice or information on how to use nearby health services.
Some pharmacies will be open this weekend for people needing help with minor injury and illness, and those looking for information on medicines and repeat prescriptions.