With Christmas fast approaching, people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung and heart disease are being reminded not to leave it too late to get their repeat prescriptions but to only order what they need.
Many GP surgeries will be closed on the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year, so it is wise for people to think about the medication they will need before the festive period begins.
Dr Ros Bonsor, local GP and board member of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “There are thousands of people living with a long-term health condition in West Lancashire, Southport and Formby and we want to make sure that people with these illnesses have a good Christmas and New Year. The last thing we want is for people to run out of their medication but it is also important that they don’t over order to avoid unnecessary waste. We don’t want patients to become poorly and have to spend part of their holiday in hospital.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “We are reminding people about the services on offer to them such as Care at the Chemist (Minor aliments) and the NHS 111 service which will be invaluable over Christmas. A simple visit to your high street chemist could make all the difference. Your pharmacist can give you useful advice on how to deal with winter bugs, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu so that you can take precautions and have a great Christmas.”
The local NHS CCGs in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire are also reminding people to examine their options and that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.
Feeling Unwell? – Examine Your Options
Across the area there are a range of health services to support people if they feel unwell or have any health concerns. There are services which you may be unfamiliar with, but could be more appropriate and convenient for you depending on your specific issue.
For minor ailments and injuries your best route to recover is likely to be self-care. There are a variety of services that can support you to do this:
Your local pharmacy can offer free, confidential and expert advice on a range of health issues. They can help you prepare for many of the common illnesses like coughs and colds and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet over the holiday period.
You can find a wealth of trusted advice about hundreds of health conditions and details of GPs, pharmacies and dentists in your local area by visiting the NHS.uk website: www.nhs.uk. It also includes a symptom checker.
When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.
If you need medical care for illnesses you cannot treat yourself, then your GP should be your next port of call.
Your Local GP
Your GP should be your first point of contact for non-emergency illnesses you can’t treat yourself. Your GP is available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays.
If you don’t have a GP, you can register with your local surgery. If you’re not sure where this is, you can find out at: www.nhs.uk or call 0300 77 77 007.
GP Out of Hours Service
If your local surgery is closed, you can still see a GP with the GP out-of-hours service; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary.
It is very likely that you and your family will be seen and treated more quickly using the out-of-hours service than if you were waiting to see a doctor in A&E, especially at busy times.
NHS Walk-In Centres
Walk-in centres provide treatment 365 days a year for illnesses that you can’t treat yourself and there’s no need to book an appointment.
For more information please visit www.examineyouroptions.info