Fill up on repeat prescriptions this Christmas and New Year

With Christmas only weeks away, GPs are encouraging people to take some time now to consider their health needs over the holidays.

Along with the turkey and tinsel, it's important to consider anything you may need when you might not be able to visit a pharmacist or GP during the festive season.

If you or your family require a repeat prescription, re-order these as soon as possible. You should ensure you have enough regular medication to last through the festive period, as out-of-hours services should not be used to obtain repeat prescriptions.

Pharmacies should display their festive opening times, and they are available on our website. The opening times are provided by the pharmacies themselves so please ring before you set out.

Dr Andy Whitfield, Chair of NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We all know the lead up to Christmas is busy, but we are encouraging people to take some time now to enable them to stay well this festive season.

"Now is the time to add a festive self-care kit to your shopping list, order your repeat medication and be aware of the options available if you do need any health advice over the holidays."

Keeping a well-stocked self-care kit will help you and your guests deal with any minor ailments which may put a damper on the festive fun. Self-care is the right option for problems such as hangovers, minor coughs, colds and mild stomach upsets.

A self-care kit, like all medicines, should be kept in a secure, dry place, out of reach of children and pets. Keep medicines in their original container, and throw them out if they're past their use-by date. Further advice on what to include in your kit can be found on NHS Choices - www.nhs.uk/livewell/pharmacy/pages/yourmedicinecabinet.aspx.

If you do become unwell, or need medical advice over Christmas and New Year, there are various options to help you choose well over the holidays.

Dr Andy Whitfield added: "Remember that the Emergency Department (A&E) is for serious accidents and illnesses only, such as severe bleeding, chest pain or loss of consciousness.

"During the colder months especially, we all have a responsibility to choose well and reduce pressure at our busy Emergency Department."

Along with self-care, where appropriate, patients can seek advice from their local GP and pharmacist, or call NHS 111 for guidance.

The NHS 111 service is free to call from landlines or mobiles and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call advisors, supported by nurses, can put you in touch with healthcare services or can send an ambulance without delay if necessary.

Further advice about how to stay well this winter, is available on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthhome.aspx.

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