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NHS opening hours change for Christmas

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By Ben Murray
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NHS opening hours change for Christmas

A MAJORITY of healthcare providers across the UK and Scotland will have different opening hours this week due to Christmas.

Ahead of the busy festive holiday, NHS 24 is reminding people across Scotland to be aware of changes to opening hours for their local GP practice and pharmacies.

Dr. Laura Ryan, NHS 24’s Medical Director says: “We are anticipating very high call volumes over the festive break and a continued high demand for the 111 service.

“NHS 24 staff continue to work tirelessly, with a commitment to deliver safe and effective services 24/7 and answer every call as quickly as possible.

“It’s vital that everyone is aware of what help and advice there is out there over the Christmas and new year public holidays.”

For any health care advice or information that is urgent, but not life-threatening, go online and use nhsinform.scot.

NHS inform has lots of health guidance, whether that be self-care advice, information on the appropriate healthcare providers that are close to home. It also explains when and why to call the 111 service.

Scotland’s Service Directory is a useful resource and can be accessed on NHS inform, but very easily on NHS 24’s new app NHS 24 Online.

The website and app have the handy ‘Find my Nearest’ function that allows the user to locate health and care services within their local area by using their post code or location.

They will be able to see how far away each service is, if it is open or closed, and phone numbers for the service. The app can be downloaded quickly, and could make seeking advice even more convenient.

Dr Ryan continues: “We are grateful for the public’s patience and understanding if they have to wait to access the 111 service during this period of high demand.

“By encouraging the public to have ‘Healthy Know How,’ it is hoped more people in Scotland will have a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

“If you do fall ill over the festive period, it’s essential you know where to get the right care, in the right place.

“Anyone in a situation considered life-threatening or an emergency, should still always call 999 or go straight to the Emergency Department.”

Dr Ryan’s advice is part of a NHS Scotland national health campaign ‘Healthy Know How.’

The campaign provides advice on how to stay well and enjoy the festivities, avoiding the need to get medical help over the holidays. Tips include:

  • Know how to stay on top of prescriptions. Order only what is needed and in plenty of time before the festive holidays.
  • Know how to be prepared for common illnesses. Ensure you have some remedies in the house.
  • Know how to check symptoms if you do become unwell. NHS inform’s symptom checkers can give you all the health advice you need online.
  • Know how to get the right care, in the right place. Further medical advice can be found during the week by contacting your GP, pharmacist, dentist or optometrist. For out of hours or during holiday closures call NHS 24 on 111.

More details on the Healthy Know How campaign can be found at www.nhsinform.scot/winter.

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