Somerset’s urgent and emergency health services are continuing to be under pressure due to the severe weather conditions and are prioritising their support to the most urgent and seriously ill people.

Residents in Burnham-On-Sea, Highbridge, Berrow, Brent Knoll and the Huntspills are being asked not to telephone the 999-ambulance service unless they or a family member are experiencing a serious, life-threatening emergency.

It comes after the Somerset health system declared a major emergency on Thursday as severe weather and treacherous driving conditions meant some essential staff from hospital, community health services and out-of-hours GPs were unable to report to their places of work or make home visits to patients.

Hospital, community health, social care and family doctor services are working in collaboration to ensure patients within the community with the most urgent health needs are supported.

Dr Ed Ford, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The public can help themselves and their local NHS by thinking first and not rush to contact urgent or emergency services with only minor illness or ailments. If you or your family are experiencing minor illness you are asked to consider self-care as your first option or wait until your GP Practice can offer you an appointment.”

“Do not attempt to drive to a pharmacy, GP Practice or Minor Injury Unit unless it is safe to do so. Think first and chose the right level of help for your medical needs.”

Here are your options should you be affected by minor illness:

Common coughs, colds and sore throats can be treated with over-the-counter medication like paracetamol and by keeping warm and consuming warm drinks. Visit the NHS Choices web site for advice and information on a wide range of aliments and symptoms;

Visit a local pharmacist:

If you feeling unwell and need advice visit your pharmacy. Your local supermarket will usually stock common medication like paracetamol or cold remedies. You can find your nearest pharmacist by searching online at: or by telephoning NHS 111.

Make an appointment with your GP Practice

Some GP Practices are also experiencing disruption to service due to the snow and poor weather conditions. You are advised to telephone you GP Practice first or check or visit the practice web site.

NHS 111

If you become ill after your GP surgery has closed and need urgent health advice or don’t know what health service you need telephone NHS 111. The number is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and free to call from mobile or landlines. If you call is not answered immediately then wait to be answered. The NHS 111 is also busy during this week’s winter weather.

Minor Injury Units:

If you have an urgent need for medical treatment there are seven Minor Injury Units at community hospitals in Burnham-On-Sea, Bridgwater, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip Hospital near Glastonbury.

Details of the Minor Injury Units’ opening hours are available by calling NHS 111 (the number is free to call from mobiles or your home telephone) or here.

The 999-ambulance service:
If you or your family are experiencing a life-threatening emergency (heart attack, stroke, severe loss of blood or unconsciousness) you should telephone 999 immediate for an ambulance.