“Use NHS 111 first, unless you are in a medical emergency” – that’s the message from St George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group as it gears up for a busy bank holiday weekend alongside the Coronation of King Charles III.

While many people will be enjoying a longer break, frontline doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, porters and other support staff, amongst others, will be working hard to care for those in need across south west London.

Kate Slemeck, Managing Director at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the long weekend and hope you can do this safely and responsibly.

“We want to take the opportunity to thank all our all our staff who are working throughout the bank holiday to care for our patients and those who need us most, but we ask that if you need healthcare advice to use NHS 111 online first, unless you are in a medical emergency, to enable our teams to prioritise the most unwell patients.”

Ahead of the Coronation festivities this weekend, the public can also help NHS staff by ensuring any repeat prescriptions are requested and collected in plenty of time.

As well as using NHS 111, many pharmacies will be open over the weekend and can give advice on minor medical problems, while a 24/7 crisis line at South West London St George’s – 0800 028 8000 – is available for urgent mental health care.

Coronation celebrations will be seen and felt across St George’s, Epsom and St Helier hospitals too though, by staff and patients alike, as wards and departments are adorned with decorations, Coronation themed foods fill the restaurants, and patients can watch the Coronation live for free across all hospital sites via their bedside TVs or day rooms.

Amerjit Chohan, Chief Executive of St George’s Hospital Charity, said: “We’re delighted to fund free TV for patients this weekend so that no one feels left out from this once in a lifetime celebration. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to fund ideas and projects, like this one, to enable outstanding patient care across St George’s.”

Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Charity will be funding the free TV offer across their hospitals too. Also at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals, teddies will be given to babies in the Special Care Baby Unit over the weekend and special knitted bunting made by members of the public will be seen around public areas of the sites.

That’s not all, though, as a personal invitation has been sent to Mohammad Radha, who works as a healthcare assistant at Epsom Hospital, to attend the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla in the Abbey Church of Westminster, following receiving an OBE for services to the NHS and the Covid-19 pandemic by the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Over the years, St George’s has played a prominent role in royal events including at the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953 when the hospital was located on Hyde Park Corner and was front row of the Coronation parade.

Back to the present day, though, the key takeaway this bank holiday weekend from St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals is to celebrate responsibly and use NHS 111 when healthcare advice is needed, unless in a medical emergency.