The NHS has said residents in Somerset should have a well-stocked first aid kit to hand, ahead of strike action by nurses over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The advice has been issued by NHS South West, a body which oversees hospital managers. They also warned of hospitals' ability to deliver 'timely care' ahead of planned industrial action.

They have urged residents to be prepared for the long weekend, when nurses will walkout of hospitals for 48 hours from Sunday at 8pm.

In a statement, a spokesperson for NHS South West said: "A few simple steps now will mean people will be less likely to need the help of the NHS this weekend, such as ensuring you have enough of your regularly prescribed medication, have checked which of your local pharmacies will be open over the weekend and having a well-stocked first aid kit to hand.

"The NHS typically sees increased demand over Bank Holidays, particularly as people take the opportunity of the longer weekend to get outdoors or to do those household jobs we’ve been storing up over winter, leading to accidents and injuries.

"But with nurses expected to go on strike from 8pm on Sunday, 30 April until 8pm on Tuesday, 2 May, the NHS in the South West is expecting challenges in delivering timely care to all those that need it."

NHS South West Regional Chief Nurse, Sue Doheny said: “We know that we see an increase in people who need our help over and immediately after a Bank Holiday weekend, which is why we are asking people to take a few simple steps now to minimise your need for NHS help this weekend. 

“Having enough of your prescribed medicines, having a well-stocked first aid kit, and even knowing which local pharmacy will be open and when will help you manage day-to-day and minor health issues.  

“And if you have done all those things and still need non-life-threatening help then 111 online can provide urgent health advice and direct you to the most appropriate NHS service for your condition.”

The strike, which is expected to hit Musgrove Park Hospital, was called after members of the biggest nurse's union, voted to reject the government's latest pay offer.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing voted to reject a deal which would have seen nurses pay increase by five per cent, and them be awarded a one-time payment of at least £1655.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it. 

“Since our talks in February, we have seen the pressures on the NHS continue to increase. The crisis in our health and care services cannot be addressed without significant action that addresses urgent recruitment and retention issues and nursing pay to bring this dispute to a close urgently.

“Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line. After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.”