Be prepared this Christmas: Health advice and support

Christmas is quickly approaching and with it comes long bank holidays which affect the services that the public can access for health advice and support. The NHS in Cumbria is encouraging everyone to be prepared and self-care at home where appropriate.

Recent reminders have been telling the public to stock up on over the counter medicines from their local Pharmacy. Pharmacists provide expert advice; some will remain open across the bank holiday weekends, opening times are available here.

Clare Parker, Interim Director of Quality & Nursing at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust explains:

“There is likely to be more pressure across our local NHS services throughout the Christmas period. We are asking the public to be prepared for the long bank holiday weekends that are approaching by ensuring that they stock up on their prescriptions and over the counter medicines.

“The festive period can create increased stress, excitement, alcohol consumption and over indulgence which can create extra hazards and an increased risk of accidents.  These can be avoided with a little extra care.

“It is also important that we all look out for others, loneliness increases during the winter months, if you know of someone who could be isolated a simple knock on their door could make all the difference.”

There are a lot of resources that the public can refer to for simple tips and advice on self-care, the NHS Choices website has information on alcohol intake, healthy eating, how to treat common ailments at home and how you can help look out for others. Taking these steps can help avoid an unnecessary trip to A&E; Jim Shawcross, Consultant Physician from North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust explains:

“It is important that clinical teams in our Accident & Emergency departments focus their attention on providing quick and effective care to people in need of emergency care for serious or life threatening conditions. We would strongly urge people to consider what the best service would be to meet their healthcare needs before coming into one of our emergency departments this Christmas.”

The message for those needing medical advice is to only use 999 and A&E services if it is a serious accident or life threatening illness. NHS 111 is free to call and can give medical advice or direct you, if appropriate, to your nearest Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), Nurse Led Treatment Centre (NLT), Primary Care Assessment Service (PCAS) or to CHOC, Cumbria’s GP out of hour’s service.