AS lockdown restrictions ease further, members of the public are being urged "not to throw away the recent progress in tackling coronavirus".

Health leaders at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are calling for a "calm and sensible" approach to the easing of lockdown ahead of what is expected to be a busy weekend.

Urgent and emergency care services are anticipating a rise in alcohol-related activity following the reopening of pubs.

With capacity at the region’s three hospitals reduced, and staff having to provide care while wearing full PPE, a rise in potentially avoidable attendances could delay care and treatment for those in genuine need.

The CCG has also warned that a return to pre-lockdown behaviours, such as overlooking the rules that are still in place around social distancing, could lead to a spike in new coronavirus infections.

Tracey Cox, Chief Executive, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, 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.

“Yes, the number of coronavirus cases in our region has thankfully remained low in recent weeks, 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, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Associate Medical Director, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 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."

As has been the case throughout the lockdown period, emergency care services across the region will be open for those who need urgent help this weekend.

This includes the emergency departments at Salisbury District Hospital, Great Western Hospital in Swindon and the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

NHS 111 online, which is available 24/7 at, can also be used this weekend by anyone looking for quick healthcare advice.

Some pharmacies will also be open for people needing help with minor injury and illness, and those looking for information on medicines and repeat prescriptions.