Health Matters

Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.
Hale and Hearty: Public Health Specialist for NHS Derbyshire County Julie Hirst.

AS part of our ongoing series of health columns, Julie Hirst, public health specialist for NHS Derbyshire County, including Buxton and the High Peak, talks about Christmas health care.

Christmas is a time where we enjoy special moments with our families, so the last thing we want is having that time spoilt by not being able to take our regular medication.

If you take repeat medication you should make sure that you request your repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure that you have adequate supplies for the Christmas and New Year period. During December GPs are happy to take early requests for repeat prescriptions.

Your GP surgery will be closed on Bank Holidays and not all pharmacies will be fully open either, so it’s important that you pick up repeat prescriptions in advance. Most practices need at least 48 hours to process a repeat prescription request.

Young people and the elderly are particularly susceptible to winter illnesses so make sure your medicine cabinets are well stocked. Make sure you have stocks of cold remedies, painkillers, antiseptic cream and plasters. Always keep medicines out of the reach of children. Many of us are out and about getting organised for the festive period and it’s important not to forget about putting your winter health necessities on our ‘to do’ list. It only takes a few minutes to collect some over the counter remedies for winter ailments.

If you think you need to see a doctor but your surgery is closed, just phone your usual surgery number and you will be redirected to the out of hours service.

You can also call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

With so much going on in the run up to Christmas, sometimes less exciting tasks like repeat prescription ordering can get forgotten, but this can make it more difficult for patients to get the medication they need nearer Christmas. If you are going away it is always useful to take your repeat prescription request slip with you, as it contains details of all your medication should you need this information while you are away.

Wherever you celebrate the Christmas festivities this year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and a very healthy New Year.