Christmas is fast approaching and amongst the excitement and chaos of shopping, decorating and cooking, it can be easy to forget about our prescriptions. The Christmas period is one of the only times of year where the majority of health services, pharmacies and shops will be shut – everyone deserves a break after all! Make sure that you stock up on your prescriptions in advance for a relaxed and healthy Christmas break.
Check with your local surgery to see when they’re open
Being prepared is the best way to avoid any panic over the Christmas period. Finding out when your surgery will be open as well as last dates for prescriptions can help make sure you have everything you need and know when you could be seen by a doctor if required. The majority of doctor surgeries will be shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and with the extra bank holiday this year, there’s a four-day period where you may not be able to visit a doctor or a pharmacist. Most surgeries will re-open for the period between Christmas and New Year, but always check with your local surgery to make sure.
Do your bit to ease pressure on health services over Christmas
Winter is one of the busiest times of the year for our health services, and it’s important that we all do what we can to make sure that we don’t fill up waiting rooms and appointments with conditions which could either be treated at home, or avoided by stocking up on your regular medication. Whilst it can be easy to forget to pick up your prescription, it’s more important than ever at this time of year to remember.
As well as picking up your regular prescriptions, you should also take the time to stock up on other essential medication for the holidays. Painkillers, cold and flu medicine, digestion aids and other types of medication could all come in handy during the festive season, as well as first aid supplies. Keeping your stocks high could allow you to treat common illnesses at home, without the need to go to a doctor.
What to do if you run out of medication
Whilst you may have done everything you can to prepare for the Christmas break, some things may slip through the net. If you forget to renew your prescription and run out of medication, don’t panic – as there is help available, including:
- The NHS Pharmacy Search – this provides details and opening times of pharmacies in your local area. Whilst the majority may not be open on Christmas Day itself, you may find some local to you that are open on Boxing Day and the other bank holidays. If you don’t have your prescription, the pharmacist may be able to provide you with an emergency supply to last until you can see your doctor.
- Out of Hours Surgery – Our East Berkshire Primary Care Out of Hours Service will be available at selected periods over the Christmas break.
- A&E – If your prescription needs are urgent, then A&E could be your last option for getting the medication you need. We must stress that A&E should only be used as a last resort in order to make way for those with medical emergencies. If you can wait until your GP can see you or when the pharmacy is next open, this is the preferred option.
By being prepared in time for Christmas, you can look forward to a relaxing break without worrying about your medication. Merry Christmas to you all, and a Happy New Year too.