Don’t forget prescriptions this festive season

With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung and heart disease are being reminded not to leave it too late to get their repeat prescriptions whilst only ordering what they need.

Many GP surgeries will be closed on the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year, so it is wise for people to think about the medication they will need before the festive period begins.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, local GP and NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group urgent and emergency care clinical director said, “It is estimated that 30% of people in Liverpool live with one or more long term health conditions. We want to make sure that people with these illnesses have a good Christmas and New Year.

“The last thing we want is for people to run out of their medication, become poorly and have to spend part of their holiday in hospital. It is important though that patients only order what they need, to prevent unnecessary waste.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It can be hard in the busy run-up to Christmas to find time to look after yourself. But a simple call to your GP surgery or a visit to your high street pharmacy could make all the difference.

Your pharmacy can also give you useful advice on how to deal with winter bugs, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu and save you time booking an appointment with your GP. If you feel you need to see a doctor, we’ve funded extra appointments at your surgery over the busy winter and holiday period to make it easier to get seen.”

NHS teams across Liverpool and south Sefton are reminding people to examine their options reinforcing the message that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.

Your local high street pharmacy can help you deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains. To find your local NHS services, go to http://www.nhs.uk use the free service finder.

Dr Lemmens continued, “Over the last six months or so, 95 urgent out of hours appointments were used in Liverpool to get repeat prescriptions, that’s around 135 GP hours and equates to a cost of almost £30,000.

“Being better prepared and ordering prescriptions early enough, will save the NHS money and help you have a more hassle free festive season.”

Mersey Care NHS Trust, one of the leading mental health trusts in the UK, has also urged their patients and carers to ensure they plan ahead for their prescriptions over the Christmas period.

“Many people with mental health issues may have long term conditions that require ongoing medication,” said a Mersey Care NHS spokesman.

“GP practices are likely to close on Christmas Eve and not open again until 29 December and close again on New Year’s Eve until 4 January. We don’t want people to be caught out unnecessarily, which is why we are urging people to submit their requests for repeat prescriptions well in advance.”