People urged to be ready for holiday season GP closures

A NATIONAL health campaign is reminding people in Scotland to be prepared for GP surgery closures over the festive holidays.

The NHSScotland Be Ready for Winter drive advises people to be aware that many doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies will be closed for two days at Christmas (Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 December), and for two days again at New Year (the 1st and and the 2nd of January).

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 to plan ahead for any required repeat prescriptions.

Professor George Crooks, Medical Director of NHS 24, said: “Many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed for two days over Christmas and again at New Year, so it is essential that everyone is prepared and knows exactly when their local services are available and how to access them.

“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. Dr John Gillies, Chair of RCGP Scotland, said: “RCGP Scotland recommends following the points outlined by the ‘Be Ready for Winter’ campaign to ensure that you have a happy and healthy holiday.

“Make sure you have stocked up on cold and flu remedies just in case. Make sure you have a supply of regular prescription medicines if you and your family, especially elderly relatives, are travelling during the holiday.

“Finally, check and be aware of your local general practice opening times.”

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.