If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Be prepared for a healthy Christmas and New Year

Friday, 16 December, 2016
Be prepared for a healthy Christmas and New Year

With the festive holidays just around the corner, people in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being urged to be prepared in order to have a healthy Christmas and New Year.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging residents to plan ahead and order and pick up any prescription medications well in advance of most GP practices closing on Friday 23 December until Wednesday 28 December.

The trust is also urging people to make sure they have a well-stocked medicines cabinet at home to enable them to effectively treat common winter ailments by themselves without needing to seek advice from the NHS.

There are pharmacies open every day over Christmas and New Year for expert medical advice for anything from coughs and colds to long-term conditions and routine over-the-counter medicines. For the first time, there will be GP appointments available over the holiday period and people should contact NHS 111 to access these.

For a full list of pharmacies open visit

The trust is reminding people that NHS 111 is open 24/7 as normal throughout the holidays if you need medical help fast and are not sure where to go.

The advice is part of the NHS’ national Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help the public ward off common winter illnesses.

For problems which are urgent and cannot be looked after by visiting a pharmacy or a GP, people can also use local urgent care centres at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals for walk-in conditions which are open 8am to midnight, seven days a week, or minor injury units at Alnwick, Berwick, Blyth and Haltwhistle hospitals.

And only if residents are seriously ill or injured – such as experiencing loss of consciousness, severe abdominal pain or sudden shortness of breath – should they make use of The Northumbria hospital. In a 999 emergency, ambulance crews will take residents to the most appropriate place.

Dr Mike Guy, associate medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We fully understand that at this time of year, people are extremely busy getting ready for the big day.

“However it’s really important for people to be prepared and take a few minutes to think about their health and what they may need in order to stay well over the festive period.

“People should work out what prescription medicines they may need over the holidays and order them and pick them up well in advance. This is particularly important this year when Christmas falls at a weekend and most GP practices will be closed from Friday 23 December until the following Wednesday.

“People should also make sure they have supplies of over-the-counter medicines at home and, if need be, pop to their local pharmacy to stock up so they can effectively deal with a range of ailments which are common at this time of year.

“There are pharmacies open every day over the holidays however it’s best to be prepared and think ahead about what you and your family may need.

“If you do become ill over the holidays and need more than the advice of a pharmacist, please choose which NHS service you use wisely. If you’re not sure, ring NHS 111 – they’ll direct you to the most appropriate place for your symptoms and even arrange a GP appointment if necessary. On the days when your GP practice is open, you should contact them as normal.

“By being prepared and acting responsibly, you’ll play your part in keeping emergency services free for those who need them most. That just leaves me to wish you all a happy, and above all, healthy Christmas and New Year from everyone here at the trust.”

The Stay Well This Winter campaign details a number of things which can help people prepare against the cold weather including keeping warm, having your flu vaccination if you’re eligible and seeking help from your pharmacist at the first signs of a cough or cold.

For more information visit