Vale of York residents are being encouraged to take advantage of services offered by pharmacies or the NHS 111 helpline if they’re suffering from non-life threatening illnesses or injuries over the Christmas holidays.
While all GP surgeries in the Vale of York will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, some pharmacies will be open on these public holidays and can offer treatments and free advice on common illnesses and ailments, including colds, flu, minor rashes and pain relief.
Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can provide many of the same services that GPs do, but on a walk-in basis, meaning you don’t need to book an appointment to see them.
They can also answer questions you might have about any medication you’re taking and, if they can't help, they'll let you know whether or not you need to see a doctor or where else you could get the best treatment.
Below is a comprehensive timetable showing which Vale of York pharmacies (in York, Selby and Pickering) are open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and their opening times.
Dr Shaun O’Connell, local GP and joint medical director at NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Pharmacists have trained for five years and can offer expert advice on lots of minor ailments and conditions. They also perform health checks, screenings and treat minor injuries and infections.
“More importantly, because they offer many of the same services that local GPs do, you don't need to make an appointment to see them. Using pharmacies also helps to take the pressure off A&E departments, freeing up staff there for real emergencies.”
The free-to-call NHS 111 helpline, meanwhile, is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. When you call you speak to a highly-trained adviser, who is supported by healthcare professionals, and they will direct you to the most appropriate medical care.
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice when it is not a life-threatening situation.
Meanwhile, residents are being encouraged to make sure they order and collect their prescriptions in good time before the Christmas holidays to ensure they don’t run out of medicine over the festive season. Our Stay Well This Winter page gives details of the pharmacies that are open over the festive period. Go to www.valeofyorkccg.nhs.uk/winter.
Not having enough prescriptions during the Christmas holidays, when GP surgeries and pharmacies might be closed or have limited opening hours, could have serious consequences for people who use medication to control long-term health conditions.
Dr O’Connell said: “With so much going on in the run-up to Christmas it can be easy to overlook something as routine as ordering your repeat prescription, but please put it on your pre-Christmas to-do list to ensure you don’t forget.
“Please order any repeat prescriptions you need in plenty of time to ensure an adequate supply over the holidays as your GP surgery will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year, and could have limited opening hours in between.”