Dr Neil O’Brien, Clinical Chief Officer, NHS North Durham CCG
I’M SURE most of you are have exciting plans during the Christmas break, whether that’s a large family get together or some relaxing time at home.
It is best to plan ahead and think about the best ways to access healthcare services over the Christmas period, and it’s important that people know how to find help that is closest to them during this time.
This means that if you take regular medication you will need to make sure you have enough supplies to last you over the festive period, so you don’t run out.
It may be best to stock up on everything you could need over the holidays, from paracetamol to indigestion remedies, as well as make sure you have picked up any repeat prescriptions from your local pharmacy.
Patients have a number of options if they fall ill over the holidays. Choosing the right NHS service will help you get the best treatment for your needs and ensure that those who are seriously ill or injured can access emergency services quickly.
Common health problems such as diarrhoea, runny noses and headaches can often be solved with a visit to your local pharmacy.
From coughs and colds to sprains and stomach upsets, pharmacists are qualified to provide expert advice and medicines without an appointment.
If you have an illness that is not an emergency you can call NHS 111.
The NHS 111 service is free to call from landlines and mobiles and is staffed by a team of fully-trained call advisors supported by nurses, paramedics and doctors, who are on hand to assess your needs and ensure you receive the right service as quickly as possible. They guide patients to locally available services and provides appropriate advice and information.
If it’s an emergency and somebody’s life is in danger, or somebody has been involved in a serious accident, ring 999.
The easiest way to find services across our area is by using the NHS Choices website – nhs.uk – which will allow you to search for services by location or medical requirement, and can provide details on addiction services.