Be prepared for surgery closures

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WITh Christmas Day upon us, a national health campaign is reminding people in Grampian to be prepared for GP surgery closures over the festive holidays.

The NHSScotland Be Ready for Winter campaign advises people to be aware that many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed for four days at Christmas (December 24-27), and for four days again at New Year (December 31- January 3).

As well as knowing the holiday opening and closure times of your local GP and pharmacy, people are also being urged to re-stock their medicine cabinet with remedies to treat common winter ailments and plan ahead for any required repeat prescriptions.

Dr George Crooks, Medical Director of NHS 24, said: “There will be two four-day closures this year, so it is essential that everyone is prepared and knows exactly when their local services are available and how to access them.

“Families and elderly people, in particular, should know when their local GP and pharmacy is open over the Christmas and New Year period, especially if they are planning to visit family and friends in different places.”

He added: “If you are unlucky enough to get a cough, cold or flu, buying over the counter medicine, staying at home and keeping warm will make you feel much better. Of course, if your symptoms worsen, you should seek a routine doctor’s appointment or contact NHS 24.”

Many GPs will be working hard throughout the festive period supporting local Out of Hours services and Be Ready for Winter has the backing of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland.

John Gillies, RCGP Scotland Chair, said: “Last year’s winter was particularly harsh so it is useful to stock up on medicines now. Make sure that you have enough prescribed medicine to cover public holidays and visiting your local pharmacy for cold and flu staples such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be a good idea.

“Wrap up warm when you go out and keep in touch with friends and elderly neighbours during the harsh weather. Last year there were transport difficulties and a lot of slips and falls on icy surfaces which led to injuries and hospital admissions. A simple step like investing in wellies or good boots can help safeguard against accidents like these. Make sure that you keep the NHS 24 telephone number handy just in case.”

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88. Winter health advice is also available through the NHSScotland digital TV channel, or follow NHS 24 on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and tips.

The four key steps that Be Ready for Winter is recommending everyone take in preparation for their health this winter are:

Restock your winter medicine cabinet

Many children and adults pick up common winter ailments such as a cold or flu-like illness. These can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine. Parents are reminded to restock their medicine cabinet with remedies suitable for children.

Use your local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.

Make sure you have repeat prescriptions.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the Christmas holiday period.

Know when your GP surgery will be open

Your local doctor’s surgery will be open on Friday 23rd December, then closed for four days during the Christmas period and it will reopen on Wednesday 28th. The surgery will be shut again from December 31st-3rd January and reopen on Wednesday 4th January, 2012.