Illnesses such as coughs, colds, earache, dental problem or chronic back pain can be dealt with by other local health services, says NHS Forth Valley’s medical director Andrew Murray.
Patients should seek advice from NHS inform, speak to a local pharmacist or contact their dentist or GP – otherwise they could face a long wait.
Mr Murray said: “Winter is a particularly busy time for the NHS and we would ask people to think carefully before turning up at the Emergency Department. This means those who really need hospital care can be treated as quickly as possible.
“We can sometimes have more than 200 patients a day presenting at our emergency department. Anyone who turns up with a serious illness or injury will always be given priority, however, others with less serious issues may face longer waits.”
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Minor injuries: The dedicated nurse-led Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Stirling Health and Care Village will remain open every day over the festive period from 9am until 9pm.
It can treat adults and children over the age of one for cuts and grazes, minor burns, sprains and strains.
It can also treat minor eye and ear injuries and X-ray and treat a number of limb injuries (including suspected broken ankles and wrists).
You might also be interested in: Pharmacy opening times in Falkirk and Grangemouth for Christmas and New Year
Pharmacies: A small number of pharmacists in Falkirk and Grangemouth will be open for short periods of time on Chrismas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and January 2, 2019. Click here for details.
Under a new scheme called Pharmacy First, all pharmacists in Forth Valley are now able to provide free treatment for a range of common conditions without a GP prescription.
These include urine infections, conjunctivitis, skin conditions (such as eczema, dermatitis and reactions to insect bites) skin infections (such as cellulitis and impetigo) and thrush.
GP practices: These will be open as normal on Monday, December 24 and Monday, December 31 will only be closed for two days at Christmas and two days at New Year.
NHS 24: Anyone who is concerned about their symptoms and don’t feel they can wait until their GP surgery re-opens should call NHS 24 free on 111 for advice.
Local opticians across Forth Valley can provide advice and support for a wide range of eye conditions such as blurred vision and eye infections. They can treat and manage many conditions themselves or refer you directly to hospital if the problem is more serious.
Details of local health services can be found on the NHS Winter Zone by clicking here.
You can also contact NHS inform free on 0800 22 44 88 for health information and advice.