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Look after yourself well this New Year, urges local NHS

Tuesday, 29 December, 2015
Look after yourself well this New Year, urges local NHS

People in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being urged to look after themselves well and to know which NHS services to use over New Year.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging residents to keep a well-stocked medicines cabinet at home in order to treat a large range of winter ailments and to use their local pharmacy. There are pharmacies open throughout the festive season, click here for opening times.

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, cold and stomach upsets without needing to see your GP or use other NHS services.  No appointment is necessary and many pharmacies have private consultation areas and can advise whether further medical attention is required.

Northumbria Healthcare is also reminding residents to order any necessary repeat prescriptions from their GP and to plan ahead as most GP practices will be closed from New Year’s Day until Monday 4 January 2016.

The reminder is part of the trust’s public awareness campaign, which launched in early December and continues over the festive season, aimed to ensure people understand where they should go for help and support from their local NHS this winter.

Urgent care centres at Wansbeck, North Tyneside and Hexham general hospitals are open 24/7 throughout the festive period and should be used for urgent problems which are not life threatening.   The free NHS 111 service is also available 24/7 to guide people to the most appropriate service.

Dr Jane Weatherstone, associate medical director primary and community care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The festive season is a time for enjoying yourself with family and friends and the last thing anyone wants is to fall ill, however, we can all be well prepared.

“Simply having a well-stocked medicines cabinet at home will help you treat lots of common winter ailments and it’s also worth remembering that there are pharmacies open every day throughout the festive season if you need over-the-counter medicines or advice. 

“If you need further help, your GP is open as normal, apart from New Year’s Day, and NHS 111 is available 24/7 if you need urgent advice or are not sure where to go for the severity of your symptoms.

“Our urgent care centres at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside will be open 24/7 throughout the festive period and I would remind people to use these services for urgent problems which are not life threatening.  You will be seen much more quickly as you will not have to wait behind patients who are seriously ill.”

As part of its public awareness campaign, Northumbria Healthcare is also supporting the national NHS initiative ‘Stay Well This Winter’ which encourages the public to look after themselves well:

·         Make sure you get your flu jab if eligible

·         Keep yourself warm – heat your home to least 18 degrees C (or 65F) if you can

·         If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious

·         Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve

·         Always take your prescribed medicines as directed

·         Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.

The campaign is also reminding people that the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington is for serious or life threatening emergencies only – most of which arrive by emergency blue light ambulance or via emergency GP admission.