With the festive season fast approaching, local doctors want to help make sure you know about the Southampton health services here for you over the holiday period.
Local GP and Chair of NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Sue Robinson, said: "We all know the lead up to Christmas is busy, and we might not be thinking about our health as we get ready for the holidays, so we hope these simple tips will help to let you know about the services and support available here in Southampton.
Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet is a good starting point to help you and your guests deal with any minor illnesses and injuries which may put a damper on the festive fun. Treating yourself and your family at home is the best option for problems such as hangovers, coughs, colds and mild stomach upsets. A pharmacist can let you know about the medicines to keep at home and advice on many common winter illnesses and injuries is also available at www.nhs.uk/staywell.
If you’ve been gifted with a seasonal cough, cold or sore throat, pharmacists are also experts on minor illnesses and injuries and are a great first point of call before visiting your GP. Plus, with our minor ailments service, you may also be eligible for free medicine for many minor illnesses and injuries from a participating pharmacy. You must be eligible to receive free prescriptions and registered at a Southampton GP practice, we’ve got full details on our website.
Many pharmacies in the city are open in the evenings and on weekends and have private consultation rooms. Opening times for pharmacies over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays are listed on our website.
If you do become unwell and aren’t sure where to go over Christmas and New Year, phone 111. The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, phoning 111 is free from landlines and mobiles and the team can find the right local service for you. They can help you with an out of hours GP appointment, emergency dentists, let you know about a local pharmacy open near you, the Minor Injuries Unit or even send an emergency ambulance if necessary.
The team at 111 is made up of fully trained call handlers, supported by nurses and paramedics including health professionals who can provide mental health support.”
Dr Sue Robinson added: “It is also important to look after your mental health over the holidays, as we know this can be a difficult time for some. The Mental Health Foundation has put together some advice on looking after your mental health over the festive period.
If you need some support, and your GP practice is closed, you can call 111 and they will find the right service for you. If you are under the care of a mental health team and have a specific care plan that states who to contact when you need urgent care, you should follow this plan.
The Samaritans are also available to listen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call free on 116 123 and find out more about the support the Samaritans can provide at www.samaritans.org.”