The local NHS is urging people not to forget about their health as they prepare for Christmas this year.
NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation which plans the city’s health services, is reminding people that the NHS is still under considerable pressure as a result of COVID-19, and that they can help by planning ahead and taking care of their health.
This includes simple things like remembering to order any repeat prescriptions early, booking a flu and COVID-19 jab if you’re eligible, and knowing where to go for any urgent care needs over the festive period too.
Dr Fiona Lemmens, a GP in Liverpool and Chair of NHS Liverpool CCG said: “In the lead up to Christmas Day, many of us are busy buying last-minute presents and planning for family gatherings - but thinking about your health now could help ensure a much more relaxing Christmas.
“If you take any medicine on a regular basis to help manage a long-term condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma – now is the time to check that you have enough medication left to last you throughout Christmas and New Year. Don’t risk being caught short over the bank holidays, when your GP practice will be closed. Make sure that you leave enough time to order and collect any repeat prescriptions before Christmas Eve.”
People should aim to order any repeat prescriptions at least one working week before Christmas Eve, to give a GP practice time to authorise the request, and a pharmacy time to order and dispense the medication.
No one wants to get ill over Christmas, but it’s really important to make sure that you know where to go for urgent health advice and treatment over the festive period, in case you or a loved one does become unwell - particularly over the bank holidays when GP practices will be closed.
The NHS is advising people to contact NHS 111 in the first instance – by visiting 111.nhs.uk or calling 111, unless it is a 999 emergency.
NHS 111 can help direct people to the most appropriate local health service if they aren’t sure where to go – this could include an out of hours GP, a pharmacy, a local NHS Walk-in Centre, or a hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) department.
Dr Fiona Lemmens adds: “Don’t forget that there’s lots of other things you can do to help prevent illness over Christmas, such as visiting a community pharmacy for advice on home remedies for managing minor health problems at home, and getting your free flu vaccine as soon as possible if you’re eligible for one.
“We also want to encourage you to make sure that you’re up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines in order to help protect yourself and your loved ones over the festive season.”
GP practices will be open until 24 December (Christmas Eve), but will be closed over the Christmas weekend and bank holidays from 25 - 28 December, and again over New Year from 1-3 January 2022. They will open as normal on 29, 30, 31 December.
Local NHS Walk-in Centres based in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley will continue to be open daily over Christmas, including on Christmas Day itself. More details about the opening times for different sites can be found here.
There will also be some pharmacies open in your area throughout the Christmas period. Visit www.nhs.uk to find a pharmacy that’s open near you.
If you or someone you know needs urgent mental health support, you can access help at any time from Mersey Care’s specialist mental health services here.
You can also find lots more helpful health advice and support at: www.nhs.uk