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Dr Julia Huddart, GP with Kenmore Medical Practice, Wilmslow and clinical lead on urgent care for NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG talks about the importance of ordering repeat prescriptions in good time for Christmas and the New Year.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for many of us and it only seems to get more hectic as the years go on!
At such a busy time of year, other tasks can seem dull and boring. Even so, one thing we should all do is spend a few minutes thinking about our health care by ordering and collecting any repeat prescriptions in good time over the holiday period, and being prepared with a well-stocked medicines cabinet to manage the symptoms of minor conditions such as colds, headaches and indigestion.
Throughout the year, patients are advised to order repeat prescriptions when they have around seven days of medication left to allow the GP to check the request and the pharmacy to dispense the prescription. With the bank holidays, practices will be closed for four days from 24 to 27December, and again for three days from 31 December to 2 January.
This means some people may need to order a few days earlier than they normally would – when they have around 10 days’ worth of medication left. Please check your supplies at home before ordering your repeat medication and only order what you need so time isn’t taken up with dispensing items that you won’t use.
Running out of daily medication over the festive period could have serious consequences for patients who rely on them to control symptoms and manage disease. This is very important as emergency GP services at Christmas should not be used to get emergency supplies of medication.
The winter period is one of the busiest times of year for the NHS so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.
With cough, colds, tummy bugs and minor accidents common over Christmas, it is a good idea to ensure you have over-the-counter medicines and first aid items in stock.
Pharmacies are often open when GP surgeries are closed, including some with limited opening hours on the bank holidays. Pharmacists can offer advice and treatment for many minor health complaints, and avoid the need to visit a doctor for conditions suitable for self-care. Details of Christmas opening times for pharmacies across Eastern Cheshire can be found here so you can plan to collect your prescription once your GP practice has ordered it, or visit the pharmacy for advice.
If you become unwell over the Christmas break and need medical advice, GP out-of-hours services can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling NHS 111.