As the busiest time of year for the NHS approaches, GPs in Reading are reminding local people to get their repeat medicines in good time this festive period.
During public holidays pharmacies and GP surgeries often operate under reduced staff and opening hours, meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.
Dr Andy Ciecierski, Chair of North & West Reading CCG said: “My advice is to check your medication is up to date and, if necessary, contact your GP for a repeat prescription or for a check-up. People with long-term conditions like asthma, heart conditions and diabetes should collect any repeat prescriptions they might need in plenty of time.
“I would also urge people to check they have medication at home to deal with minor injuries and common ailments like coughs, sneezes, colds and upset stomachs.”
Dr Ciecierski recommends that every home should have a basic medicine cabinet stocked with:
- Cough medicine
- An antacid for indigestion
- Throat lozenges
- Plasters/bandages for any cuts or scrapes
GPs are also reminding people to use their local accident and emergency services responsibly. Accident and Emergency departments are for life threatening conditions, not minor injuries and ailments which can be treated elsewhere.
- As well as encouraging people to get their repeat medicines in good time, the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign urges people over 65 or those with long-term health conditions to prepare for winter with advice on how to ward off common illnesses, including:
Keep yourself warm - heat your home to least 18 degrees C or 65F if you can.
- Make sure you get your flu jab if eligible. Children aged two, three or four, or in school years one and two, are all eligible for a free nasal flu vaccination on the NHS.
- Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.
- Make sure you have enough food and medicine. Always take your prescribed medicines as directed.
A useful number to call out of hours is 111 (the NHS non-emergency number). It’s fast, easy and free to speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask a series of questions to assess symptoms and immediately direct people to the best medical care.
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading's Lead Member for Health, said: “By being prepared, we can minimise the dangers cold weather brings and keep ourselves, our loved ones, friends and neighbours well this winter.
"Older people are at particular risk of health problems, as are children and people with disabilities or long term illnesses. If anyone feels they are struggling to keep warm or indeed knows any neighbours who they think may need help, then please contact the council on 0118 937 3747 and find out more about how the council's Winter Watch scheme can help."
Notes to editors:
- If you would like to interview Dr Andy Ciecierski, please contact Victoria Brandon on 07468 709197 / or Kulbir Sandhu on 07785 338845 /
- Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for planning, designing and paying for NHS services. This includes planned and emergency hospital care, rehabilitation, most community services and mental health and learning disability services. Working with NHS England, this now includes planning GP services.