With the festive season fast approaching, local doctors want to help make sure you know about the Southampton health services here to help you over the Christmas holidays.
Local GP and Chair of NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Mark Kelsey, 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 you know about the services and support available here in Southampton.”
If you need to see a GP or nurse over the Christmas period, appointments are available from 8am - 9pm every day of the week, including weekends and bank holidays. These appointments will either be at your GP practice or at one of the six hubs here in Southampton.
You can book an appointment through your GP practice when they are open or by phoning 111 when your GP practice is closed.
While you’re busy making a list and checking it twice, don’t forget about ordering your repeat prescription in time if you’ll need your medicine over the bank holidays. Most practices need 48 hours to process repeat prescription requests.
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. Many pharmacies in the city are open in the evenings and on weekends and have private consultation rooms. Details of pharmacies open over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays are on our website.
Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you and your guests deal with any minor illnesses and injuries which may put a damper on the festive fun. A pharmacist can let you know about the medicines to keep at home and advice on many common illnesses and injuries is also available at www.nhs.uk/staywell.
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 and the team can find the right local service for you. They can help you with an out of hours GP appointment, emergency dentist, let you know about a local pharmacy open near you, details of 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 a range of experienced clinicians including GPs, nurses and paramedics.
Dr Kelsey 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 and Solent Mind also have a great Winter Wellbeing Toolkit, which includes advice for parents and carers.
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.”