Preparing for winter?

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WITH CHRISTMAS only a matter of weeks away, local people are being urged to plan ahead for repeat prescriptions as part of a major health campaign.

The NHSScotland ‘Be Ready for Winter’ campaign is reminding people to make sure they order any repeat prescriptions they need for themselves and those they look after ahead of time this festive period.

As well as making sure their medicine cabinets are fully re-stocked, people are being urged to organise any required repeat prescription as soon as possible. The last day for re-ordering is Tuesday, December 20 to be sure of getting it before Christmas.

John McAnaw, Head of Pharmacy at NHS 24, said it is important for people taking regular medication to make sure they have enough supplies to last them through to the New Year.

He said: “At this time of year, with only a few weeks left until Christmas, people will be focused on getting organised to make sure they can make the most of the holiday period.

“It is important not to forget about putting winter health necessities on your ‘to do’ list.

“It also only takes a few minutes to collect some over-the-counter remedies for winter ailments.

“If you take regular medications, please ensure you order and collect enough to cover the holiday period.

“It’s also important not to waste medicines, so only order what you need, and make sure you don’t run out of anything during that time.”

This year, GP surgeries will be closed for four days at Christmas (December 24-27) and for four days again at New Year (December 31 – January 3).

Community Pharmacy Scotland is backing the national campaign.

Harry McQuillan, Chief Executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland said: “Community pharmacies provide vital access to healthcare services over the holiday season.

“We would urge members of the public to be prepared by checking their medication and ensuring they have adequate supplies.

“We would also encourage patients to visit community pharmacies to enquire about the range of services provided from these premises including advice on winter ailments.

“Our pharmacists help out thousands of patients at this time every year. For example, last year one of our pharmacists helped a 45-year-old patient with hypothyroidism who had run out of his medication.

“It was the Christmas public holiday and the local GP surgery was closed. By taking his empty packet with him to his local pharmacy, the community pharmacist was able to write a prescription for a one-off supply to last over the festive period.

“This is just one example of how your local community pharmacist can offer assistance at this time of year.”

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.

The four key steps that ‘Be Ready for Winter’ is recommending everyone take in preparation for their health this winter are:

1. Restock your winter medicine cabinet. Many children and adults pick up common winter ailments such as a cold or flu-like illness.

These can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine. Parents are reminded to restock their medicine cabinet with remedies suitable for children.

2. Use your local pharmacy. Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.

3. Make sure you have repeat prescriptions. If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the Christmas holiday period.

4. Know when your GP surgery will be open.