Be prepared when the doctor is out

FOLLOWING a busy Christmas period for NHSScotland staff, the public are being reminded of the GP surgery closures over New Year.

While GP practices re-opened on Thursday after the Christmas break, the NHSScotland Be Ready for Winter campaign advises people to be aware that many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed for two days again on January 1 and 2.

NHS 24’s medical director Professor George Crooks said: “While NHS Scotland staff have been very busy over the Christmas period, it is important that people remember there is another period of GP practices’ closures over Hogmanay.

“It’s important that people know the opening times of their local pharmacy too and make use of the next couple of days to re-stock with simple home remedies to ensure they can look after themselves and their family if needed.

“Knowing you have remedies at home to help if a winter illness does strike can make all the difference and if your symptoms worsen while your GP surgery is closed, you should contact NHS 24.”

Many GPs will be working hard throughout the festive period supporting local Out of Hours services and Be Ready for Winter has the backing of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland.

Dr John Gillies, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland, said: “Cold and flu bugs are most prevalent between January and March.

“Be prepared by stocking your medicine cabinet with suitable over the counter remedies. If you are in a vulnerable group make sure you have requested a flu vaccine from your practice.

“Remember that your local general practice will not be closed for very long, but if you do need out of hours advice you can look at NHS inform online or contact NHS 24.”

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.

Winter health advice is also available through the NHSScotland digital TV channel, or follow NHS 24 on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and tips.