People in Northamptonshire are being encouraged to 'know where to go' for healthcare in case they are taken ill or injured over the Christmas and New Year period.
The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for local GP practices and hospitals. To ensure everyone can receive the care and treatment they need, it is important to remember there are a number of ways to get advice and support from the NHS.
This includes visiting your local pharmacy for help treating coughs, colds and other minor ailments, and calling NHS 111 free if you need health advice urgently. It is also advisable to keep your medicine cabinet stocked to help you deal with any minor health issues.
If you have a long-term health condition, you should ensure you prepare for the upcoming bank holidays by requesting well in advance any repeat prescriptions you might need
Over the festive period, people in Northamptonshire have a number of healthcare options:
- NHS 111 service – If you need medical help fast, but your condition is not life threatening, you can call NHS 111. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays, the freephone number is staffed by trained advisors and experienced clinicians who can assess you, offer advice and direct you to the right place to get the medical care you need as quickly as possible.
- Pharmacy – Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy where you seek help without having to make an appointment. Pharmacists can offer advice on how to look after yourself at home with rest and over-the-counter treatments. A number of pharmacies will be open in Northamptonshire over the festive period, including Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day Monday. Details will be available on the NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) website www.neneccg.nhs.uk
- Corby Urgent Care Centre – For a minor injury or illness that needs urgent attention, this service is an alternative to attending A&E. The centre is located at the Willowbrook Health Complex, Cottingham Road, Corby, and is open 8am to 8pm every day of the year. It has free car parking and appointments are not necessary. The centre has a range of diagnostic facilities including an x-ray department.
- Self-care – A well-stocked medical cabinet can help you deal with coughs, colds and a range of other minor illnesses and injuries at home.
- GP appointments – If you need information about opening times over Christmas please contact your practice directly or visit www.nhs.uk. If you need to see a GP urgently please contact your GP practice directly during normal opening GP hours (0800-1830 Monday to Friday on non bank holiday days) and call NHS 111 outside these hours.
Dr Darin Seiger, a local GP and chair of Nene CCG, said: “Being well prepared is essential at this time of year when local NHS services are extremely busy. This includes making sure you know where to go for healthcare as there are a number of options locally.
“Choosing the right service ensures that you receive treatment you need in the right place at the right time – allowing our urgent care teams to focus on those who need them most.
“As well as being a valuable source of advice and offering over-the-counter medicines and services such as flu vaccinations, pharmacies can provide repeat prescriptions – but please be aware that the NHS receives many requests for these during this period.
“Ordering your repeat prescriptions well in advance will ensure you are well prepared for the four-day Christmas bank holiday weekend. If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, you can assist them by asking if they need help collecting their medications.”
For more advice to help you and your family stay well this winter, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell