Hale and hearty at Christmas

Do you know? John McAnaw, NHS 24's head of pharmacy, and his young helpers ask people to check opening times.
Do you know? John McAnaw, NHS 24's head of pharmacy, and his young helpers ask people to check opening times.

A campaign has been launched to make sure people know when their doctor and pharmacies are open over the festive period.

Be Health-Wise this Winter is urging people to check the opening hours of their GP surgery and local pharmacy during the festive holidays.

So if you don’t know by now, the advice is to make sure you find out – and soon!

NHS 24’s medical director Professor George Crooks said: “GP surgery opening times may vary across Scotland so it is vitally important that you know when your local surgery will be available.

“Pharmacies can help with treatments for common complaints but, again, make sure that you know when your local pharmacy will be open.”

Readers are also being advised to make sure they stock up now on over the counter medicines.

Professor Crooks added: “If you are on long term medication, make sure you have enough to last over the holidays.

“Order only what you need but make sure you get it in plenty of time.”

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, reiterated that it was important for people to know which services were available and when GPs would be working.

He said: “It is important to know when medical staff will be available in out of hours units across Scotland throughout the festive break .

“This ensures people who become ill, and can’t wait for an appointment when their GP practice re-opens, can get help when theyneed it.

“Find out when your local surgery is going to be open, order repeat prescriptions early and stock up on remedies for seasonal illnesses from your pharmacy.”

The 111 service run by NHS 24 is available 365 days a year.

Online health advice and information can also be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk.

The website deals with questions most asked by people, an example being: can I pick up a prescription for someone else?

If you are collecting ‘controlled medication’ for someone else, you are legally required to show the pharmacist proof of your identity.

Controlled medication includes morphine, pethidine, and methadone, amongst others.

These medicines are prone to being misused, so have stricter legal controls than other prescribed medicines.