While Christmas shopping and festive celebrations may be uppermost in everyone’s minds at this time of year, the three NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Leeds are urging local people to prepare themselves medically for the holiday period.
A handy Christmas card reminding people to pack their regular medication as well as their presents is being distributed across the city this week. This coincides with the launch of a new website www.leeds.nhs.uk/isitforme which is designed to ensure people know what to do if they fall ill or get injured over the festive period and beyond.
Many people need regular medication and it is vital that they make sure that they have enough supplies to last the public holidays and any time they are planning to be away from home. As Christmas Day is on a Wednesday this year, there will be two days when GP surgeries and many local pharmacies are likely to be closed. Details of pharmacy opening hours over the holidays are available at www.leeds.nhs.uk/isitforme or in the local press.
Dr Jason Broch, GP and Clinical Chair for NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Each year the NHS gets calls from people who are in a panic on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the other bank holidays because they have run out of their regular medication.
“Many people on repeat medication are often well prepared however experience tells us that we need to remind people to make sure that they have enough supplies of their medication to last them for at least a couple of weeks.
“The last thing we want is people’s celebrations being disturbed or even ruined by a medical emergency which could have been prevented with some simple pre-planning.
“If you have a condition that means you do use the health service regularly, please also take a moment to find out the opening times of your GP and local community pharmacy during the festive season and what their out of hours provision is, just in case.
“The winter is a particularly busy time for the ambulance service and the NHS in general. The NHS, on behalf of the three clinical commissioning groups in Leeds, is hoping that with some simple pre-planning, we can reduce the number of people who dial 999 over the festive season”.
The local NHS also wants to remind people, even those who do not need regular medication, that it is a good idea to have a well stocked medicine cabinet for common conditions such as coughs and colds. Community pharmacists can provide advice on suitable products for those who have a long term condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. It is recommended that people should have the following in their medicines cabinet:
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Cold and flu remedies
- Anti-diarrhoea medicine
- Oral rehydration salts
- Indigestion remedies
- Plasters and bandages
- A thermometer
It is important that people read the information leaflet that came with any medicines and make a note of the use by date.
The new website www.leeds.nhs.uk/isitforme is an easy-to-access resource for people who want more information to help them make the right choice. It includes information about where the nearest minor injuries unit and walk in centre is, how to find a pharmacy during the holidays and how to use the symptom checker on www.nhs.uk.